The Boston Bruins (3-1-0) begin a challenging two-game road trip Wednesday in Sunrise, Florida, and will learn a lot about where they stand so far in this young season when they play the Florida Panthers tonight (NESN, BSFL, TVAS) and the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
The Panthers are off to their best start in franchise history and sit atop the NHL standings and the Atlantic Division at 6-0-0. The Hurricanes are 5-0-0 and sit atop the Metro Division.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy knows his team is facing a lethal Panthers offense that leads the NHL with 27 goals so far.
“They have a quick-strike offense…they’ve got two goalies that are really on their game as well…offense and defense – that’s probably why they’re undefeated,” Cassidy said Tuesday morning.
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron thinks his team will need to stick to their system to counter that offense.
“For us, we take it a game at a time and work on what we can control and build a foundation,” Bergeron said. “There’s a system that we have in place, working on those things and improve – we have to improve as a team. It’s a great challenge that we should be excited about.”
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Boston Bruins Notes
-Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark will get his third straight start tonight. Ullmark is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.
-Boston Bruins forward Curtis Lazar is expected to make his 2021-22 regular season debut after elbow surgery. Lazar will ride the right wing on the fourth line with Tomas Nosek and Trent Frederic.
-Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand has stormed out of the gate with four goals and three assists and registering a point in each of the team’s first four games.
– Boston Bruins forward Craig Smith did not make the trip and remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
Florida Panthers Notes
– Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is playing in his 500th game tonight. Our man in FLA George Richards has the detes over at Florida Hockey Now.
– Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in assists (5) and points (8). Sam Bennett leads the team in goals with four lamplighters.
-Former Boston Bruins captain Joe Thornton is still going at age 42 and has a goal in his first four games with the Panthers. Former Boston Bruins forward Fran Vatrano has a goal and an assist in six games.
-The Panthers’ goaltending has been brilliant so far. Sergei Bobrovsky has bounced back from a rough 2021 season and is 4-0-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. Former Boston College goalie Spencer Knight is 2-0-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
-Defensemen Olli Juolevi and John Ludvig are on injured reserve.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – Jack Studnicka – Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk – Erik Haula – Karson Kuhlman
Trent Frederic – Tomáš Nosek – Curtis Lazar
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – John Moore
Florida Panthers Lines
Carter Verhaeghe – Sasha Barkov – Anthony Duclair
Jonathan Huberdeau – Sam Bennett – Owen Tippett
Mason Marchment – Eetu Luostarinen – Sam Reinhart
Frank Vatrano – Joe Thornton – Patric Hornqvist
MacKenzie Weegar – Aaron Ekblad
Gus Forsling – Radko Gudas
Kevin Connauton – Brandon Montour