NHL Playoffs: Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins Round 2 Series Preview

Florida and Tampa Bay handshake line following Game 5. Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

After quite a wait, the Panthers finally have their round two opponent, the Boston Bruins. Boston’s opening series went the distance to Game 7 on Saturday, where they pulled out the OT win over the Maple Leafs. Florida’s been off for about a week come Game 1, which is scheduled for Monday night. These two teams met in the playoffs last season, which ended in a dramatic come-from-behind win for the Cats. There’s no love lost between these two teams, and Boston will be looking for redemption for last season. Sunday HC Paul Maurice said that Sam Bennett is now day to day but will not play in Game 1. During practice on Sunday, the Panthers ran the same forward lines that they’ve been using since Game 4. They also called up several players from Charlotte, most notably William Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich, and Spencer Knight. Lockwood and Smoskevich played with the Panthers earlier in the season when injuries to the starting lineup gave them an opportunity to slot in. If this series goes anything like the regular season games did, fans could be in for a lot of fighting or, at the very least, plenty of physicality.

What The Numbers Say:

Through round 1, Florida’s points leaders are Tkachuk and Verhaeghe, who both have nine points. Tkachuk has three goals and six assists, while Verhaeghe has five goals and four assists. Barkov rounds out the top three with five points, two goals, and three assists. Impressively, not a single Panther is +/- negative; Verhaeghe leads that category at +7, followed by Forsling at +5, and Tkachuk and Ekblad tied at +4. Power play goals came from Verhaeghe, Tarasenko, and Reinhart, while Barkov got the only short-handed goal. Reinhart led the way with the most shots at 23, Verhaeghe had 22, and Tkachuk had 21. Barkov was best in the faceoff circle winning 40 and losing 35 for a win percentage of 53.3, Lundell followed winning 35 and losing 34 for a win percentage of 50.7, Stenlund rounded out the top three winning 31 and losing 24 for a win percentage of 56.4. As a team, they took 50 minutes of penalties over the five games. 

For Boston, their points leaders are Marchand, who scored eight points from three goals and five assists; Pastrnak, who scored five points from three goals and two assists; and DeBrusk, who scored five points with three goals and two assists. Frederic leads the +/- at +5, Lindholm, van Riemsdyk, and Carlo are all tied at +2; however, Zacha, Coyle, Shattenkirk, Heinen, Peeke, Beecher, and DeBrusk are all in the negatives from -1 to -3. DeBrusk leads the Bruins with three power play goals followed by Marchand who has two and Geekie who has one, no one scored a short handed goal. Pastrnak led the team with 23 shots, Marchand and DeBrusk had 16, and McAvoy rounds out the top four with 13 shots. Coyle was best in the faceoff circle winning 61 faceoffs and losing 68 for a FO% of 47.3, Zacha was second winning 39 while losing 59 for a FO% of 39.8, Beecher finishes off the top three winning 28 and losing 27 for a FO% of 50.9. As a team, they took 54 minutes of penalties over seven games. 

Notable Florida Players:

Florida’s heavy hitters showed up big in round 1. Barkov stepped up huge in Game 5 scoring two goals that gave Florida the lead and extended it. On Sunday, he was announced as a finalist for the Selke Trophy in recognition of his great defensive play. It can’t be overstated how good Barkov has been for the Panthers; his all-around game has a big impact on the ice regardless of what type of play he’s making, an incredible pass, forcing turnovers, or puck handling to kill penalties. Barkov showed why he’s the captain in Game 5 and led by example. There is no one more clutch in the playoffs than Carter Verhaeghe; he’s a player who thrives off of the chaotic nature of the playoff environment. Round 1 saw Verhaeghe hit the 20-goal mark for the franchise record, and since joining the team, he has had six goals, five assists, and two game-winning goals in a series-clinching game. His biggest goal of this playoffs so far came off a great pass from Lundell for the overtime win in Game 2. Matthew Tkachuk, once again, is having a stellar playoff. He got his first goal past Vasilevskiy and has been great at setting up his teammates for success – he leads the team with six assists. He only took one penalty and had one game-winning goal against Tampa Bay. Tkachuk’s been an impact player since his arrival, in 25 playoff games he’s had 14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points, 5 game winning goals, and is +16. Goaltending is going to be another fight, for Bobrovsky he ended the Tampa series with a SV% of .896, 2.78 GA, 4 wins and 1 loss. That save percentage doesn’t fully reflect how good Bob was in the series. In four out of the five games, he held Tampa to three goals or less, and there were plenty of lead-saving stops that he made. When the defense wasn’t fully there Bob was to make the save, he totaled 34 high-danger saves and his 5v5 SV% was .929, he gave up only seven goals during the 5v5. Game 1 is scheduled for Monday Night at 8 pm EST/7 pm CT.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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