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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Panthers, Wednesday November 24th

The Bruins (11-6-2) look to round out their brief southern road trip with a win tonight, taking on the Florida Panthers (9-10-0) in Sunrise, Florida this evening.

Boston took one on the chin Monday night in Tampa on the first leg of this road trip, falling behind by three goals early for the second straight game. Michael Ryder would light the lamp midway through the third to get the B’s within striking distance, but ultimately Boston fell to the Lightning, 3-1.

The Panthers are also coming off a Monday night loss, dropping a tight one to the Penguins, 3-2. Florida came back from a two-goal deficit to tie that game before eventually giving up the game-winner and taking the loss.

Let’s roll on with some pregame notes to get you ready for tonight’s Turkey Day appetizer…

  • These two teams are meeting for the second time in less than a week, as Florida came to Boston last Thursday. In that game, Tuukka Rask earned his first win of the season and Milan Lucic recorded his second career hat trick, with the B’s topping the Panthers, 4-0. Boston has won five of its last six games in Sunrise against the Panthers.
  • Former Panthers Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, and Dennis Seidenberg will all make their return to Pantherland tonight. Horton and Campbell spent their entire careers in Florida before coming to Boston in the off-season via trade.
  • Speaking of Nathan Horton, he’s hoping he can get back on track tonight against his former team. After scoring seven goals in his first dozen games with the Black and Gold, Horton has managed to light the lamp just once in the past seven contests.
  • Florida’s power play has been completely powerless all season long, but they’ve reach a new level of suckdom lately. The Panthers are on a dismal 0-for-25 streak on the man-advantage, dropping their league-worst PP% to 7.5%.
  • The Panthers have been ravaged by injuries already this year. Monday, defensemen Bryan Allen (foot) and Jason Garrison (groin) left the game early, and they are doubtful for tonight’s game against the B’s. Already shelved with boo-boos, Steve Reinprecht (groin), Rostislav Olesz (finger), Steve Bernier (face), Mark Cullen (heel), and former Bruin Byron Bitz (groin).
  • The goaltenders are at least healthy for Florida, with Tomas Vokoun (8-7-0, 2.38GAA) getting the brunt of the workload thus far. Backing up Vokoun is former BC Eagle Scott Clemmensen (1-3-0, 3.18GAA).
  • It remains to be seen at this hour, who will be in goal for Boston tonight. Rask, who shut out Florida last week, would be a good bet to start again, but with him getting the nod Monday night in the loss against Tampa, maybe it’ll be Tim Thomas who mans the crease this evening. Florida is 4-7-1 all-time vs. Tim Thomas.
  • Lastly, some good news to report on the improving condition of Marc Savard. The Bruins center, who has been out all year battling post-concussion syndrome, was evaluated at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program yesterday. Savard went through nearly six hours of testing, passing them all with flying colors. He has been cleared now to return to full-contact practices with the team. He rejoined the B’s down in Florida for this morning’s pre-game skate. GM Peter Chiarelli would not commit to a time frame on when we’ll see Savard back on the active game roster, but a return in December should be a realistic goal. Keep in mind, a roster move will need to be made in order to get Marc Savard back in action, as the Bruins have to free up money to stay under the league’s salary cap.

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