Panthers Will Clamp Down And Bring Bruins To Their Knees

Jimmy Murphy

Monday, December 3, 2018 7:07 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 7:07 PM UTC

After allowing four unanswered goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, Florida will focus on defense and beat Boston on Tuesday night. As you ponder your NHL picks, bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Jimmy's NHL picks record: 38-32-2

Boston (14-8-4, 14-12 ATS) at Florida (10-10-5, 10-15 ATS)Tuesday, 7 p.m. ETFree NHL Picks: Panthers ML and 'Under'Best Lines Offered: Bovada

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One can only imagine the grueling practice, video sessions and stern words Florida head coach Bob Boughner had for his players Monday. As many teams do following such experiences, you can expect the Panthers to clamp down and tighten up their game when they host Atlantic Division rival Boston on Tuesday night. Yes, the stats and standings would point to a Bruins win and the "over" here, but sometimes you must look at the mental intangibles too and you can be certain that Florida doesn’t want to get lit up again by a division rival at home.

No one can argue the fact that the Panthers, through 25 games, have scored 82 goals and allowed the second-most goals in the Eastern Conference with 91 pucks finding the back of their net, or that they’re 12-10-3 on the over/under and 5-5-2 at home. As pointed out above, though, this game just has the feel of a defensive struggle and not just because of the loss the Cats just endured against Tampa Bay. The Bruins also had a leaky defense Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the Red Wings. Goalie Tuukka Rask wasn’t the issue as he made 23 saves, but his teammates in front of him coughed up the puck 11 times with two directly leading to Detroit goals. Jaroslav Halak is slated to get the start against the Panthers and head coach Bruce Cassidy made it clear after the game, he wasn’t happy with the costly turnovers.

“We failed to manage the puck in the third, two veteran guys in the neutral zone on a simple breakout where we should’ve reversed the puck,” Cassidy said. “It’s one of our go-to plays in our breakouts and whether it wasn’t communicated, or we didn’t see it. We lost some battles on the wall that hurt us in the d-zone as well.”

Overall, the Bruins’ 64 goals allowed this season have been much better than the Panthers and they’ve been pretty balanced, scoring 71. Lately, though, and definitely due to their ever-growing injury list, the B’s have struggled to find the back of the net. In six of their last seven games, Boston has failed to score more than two goals. They’re 8-17-1 on the over/under and 4-10 on the road. With the likes of center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Charlie McAvoy still out, the Bruins aren’t likely to suddenly start lighting the lamp more frequently and will continue to play the conservative system Cassidy has them playing to alleviate the injuries. That means fewer goals for and likely fewer goals against. The Bruins are still 5-3-2 in their last 10 despite all those injuries, so why would they change their approach now?

Boston is 14-12 against the spread and 5-9 on the road. The Bruins are 13-13 on the puck line and 6-8 on the road. The Panthers are 10-15 against the spread and 5-7 at home. Florida is 12-13 on the puck line and 4-8 at home.

Forward David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 19 goals (third-most in the NHL) and 30 points. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci are tied for the team lead in assists with 17 each.

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Mark Scheifele (@NHLJets), Adin Hill (@ArizonaCoyotes), Jonathan Huberdeau (@FlaPanthers) named Three Stars for the week ending Dec. 2.

Details: https://t.co/YB0fR3etNe pic.twitter.com/neCrTZHVyG

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 3, 2018
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Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau was named the NHL’s third star of the week Monday after scoring 2 goals and assisting on 7 for 9 points in his last four games. Huberdeau leads the Panthers in assists with 22 and in points with 28. Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman lead the team in goals with 12 each.

Goaltending Matchup

For the Bruins, Halak is 8-3-0-2 with a 2.06 GAA and .936 save percentage. Rask is 6-5-0-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .915 save percentage.

For the Panthers, the injured Roberto Luongo is 4-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA and .902 save percentage.

James Reimer is 5-6-0-3 with a 3.36 GAA and .893 save percentage. Michael Hutchinson is 1-1-0-2 with a 4.18 GAA and .839 save percentage.

M*A*S*H Report

For the Bruins, defenseman Zdeno Chara (knee) is out at least three more weeks. McAvoy (concussion) practiced with full contact Monday but he and Cassidy said there’s still no timetable on his return. Bergeron (clavicle) is out at least four more weeks. Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen is day-to-day with a concussion. Defenseman Kevan Miller is out at least five more weeks with a neck injury.

For the Panthers, Luongo is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Center Vincent Trocheck is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Center Derek MacKenzie is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Winger Jamie McGinn is out indefinitely with a back injury.

Prediction: Panthers 2, Bruins 1
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