Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Panthers try to extend record start to season, welcome Bruins

Field Level Media
27 Oct 2021, 07:05 GMT+10

After 112 games with the Buffalo Sabres, defenseman Brandon Montour is loving life with the Florida Panthers.

"I enjoyed Buffalo," Montour said after getting credit for two assists on Monday night. "But coming to the rink in flip-flops and with the sun out is a game-changer."

Indeed, the weather in South Florida is hot, and so are the Panthers, who are off to a franchise-record 6-0-0 start.

On Wednesday night, the Panthers will play host to the Boston Bruins, and the two sides will play again on Saturday in Beantown.

Boston will enter Wednesday's game with one more day of rest than the Panthers, who beat the Arizona Coyotes, 5-3, on Monday. The Bruins have been off since beating the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, on Sunday.

Boston won that game thanks in part to six points from its top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.

Sunday marked the 30th time that Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron each had multiple points in the same game. That tied the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang for the most among current teammates.

Marchand scored 28 seconds into the game and Boston held a 3-0 lead in just over 16 minutes.

"I thought our start was excellent," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Sunday. "You always want to get in front at home, especially that way, playing the right way."

Marchand leads the Bruins this season in goals (four) and points (seven). Pastrnak has two goals and three assists, while Bergeron has yet to score a goal but has three assists.

Last season, Marchand led the Bruins in goals (29) and assists (40), totaling 69 points in just 53 games. Bergeron was second in goals (23) and was tied for second with Pastrnak with 48 points.

Besides their great top line, the Bruins also have Charlie McAvoy, a 23-year-old who is already considered one of the top four defensemen in the NHL.

The Bruins moved on from a pair of stars after last season: center David Krejci and goalie Tuukka Rask. Neither is playing in the NHL at the moment.

Boston's top goalie is now Linus Ullmark, a 28-year-old from Sweden. He is 2-0-0 this season with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.

Bruins rookie Jeremy Swayman, 22, is 8-4-0 in 12 career NHL games. His career marks also include a 1.75 GAA and a .935 save percentage.

No matter who the Bruins start in goal, it won't be easy. The Panthers have scored at least four goals in every game this season.

Sam Bennett and Anthony Duclair lead a balanced Panthers attack with four goals each. Carter Verhaeghe, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad all have three goals.

And that says nothing of Florida's best all-around player -- its center and team captain Aleksander Barkov, who has two goals and four assists so far.

"That's how we are going to win a lot of games," Huberdeau said, "with the depth in our lineup."

Florida is expected to start veteran goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (4-0-0, 1.99 GAA and .942 save percentage).

"We're a confident group right now," Bennett said. "Things are going well."

--Field Level Media

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