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42-32-8 (4th in Atlantic Division)
65-12-5 (1st in Atlantic Division)
Matthew Tkachuk (5)
Taylor Hall (7)
Matthew Tkachuk (2)
Taylor Hall (4)
Matthew Tkachuk (3)
Dmitry Orlov (5)
Matthew Tkachuk (2)
Taylor Hall (3)
Sam Bennett (5.0)
Shots (Per Game)
Brad Marchand (3.75)
The Florida Panthers will travel back to Boston to face the Bruins in Game Five of this First Round series. The Bruins have dominated this series, winning Games One, Three, and Four. Boston has had a noticeable edge over the Panthers and is by far the better team.
The Panthers were not able to replicate last year’s regular season success and barely snuck into the Playoffs. They took the second Wild Card spot, which meant they had to face this incredible Bruins team. The Florida offense was only a little slower than the Boston offense, but their defense has been questionable. The Panthers allowed 3.32 goals per game during the season and are allowing four goals a game in the Playoffs. The Florida defensemen need to hold their end of the bargain to give their team a chance.
The Panthers are led by Matthew Tkachuk, Brandon Montour, and Sam Bennett. Tkachuk has five points, Montour has four points, and Bennett has three points in this series. These players have been the most helpful, but the Panthers will need Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe to also have a strong game today.
The Panthers have not announced if Alex Lyon or Sergei Bobrovsky are getting the start in net today. Both goaltenders have struggled in this series and not put their best foot forward.
There is nothing new I can say about the Bruins. They dominated the regular season and have taken that domination into the Playoffs. Boston is the heavy favorite to win this game and will likely do so.
Taylor Hall and Tyler Bertuzzi have stepped up in this series. Hall has four goals and three assists, and Bertuzzi has two goals and four assists.
Linus Ullmark has been a brick wall in net for the Bruins. He has a .926 save percentage and is allowing less than 2.6 goals per game.
The Bruins have shown that they are the better team in many ways and are playing at home. Bet on them to win.
The Panthers are the underdogs but can win if they score the first goal and score a power play goal.
The Panthers are the worse team on paper, but that does not mean they cannot win this game. It will be an uphill battle, but Florida can emerge victorious if they score the first goal. A few things will happen if Florida scores first. They will push momentum in their favor, quiet the Boston crowd, and significantly increase their of winning. The team that scores first wins about ⅔ of the time, so striking first is critical to the Panthers’ success.
The Panthers’ power play unit has been abysmal in the Playoffs. They have scored one power-play goal in 11 opportunities. That means that the Panthers are converting on less than 10% of their opportunities. That is not acceptable and must change this game. It does not matter how many penalties the Panthers draw. They must score at least one goal with a man advantage.
The Bruins are the favorites but can improve their chances if they win faceoffs and play aggressive defense.
The Bruins destroyed the Panthers in the faceoff circle in Game Four. Boston won 40 faceoffs, while the Panthers only won 23. This played a large role in their dominating 6-2 win. It was not the only reason Boston won, but you cannot understate the value of winning faceoffs. The Bruins must win 60% or win of their faceoff opportunities in this game.
The Bruins’ defensemen should thank Linus Ullmark for his Game Four performance. They allowed the Panthers to take 44 shots, but Ullmark saved 41 of them (Jeremy Swayman also saved one shot). However, Boston cannot expect 41-save performances every game and needs to do a better job of limiting the Panthers’ shots. They can limit their shooting by playing aggressive defense out of the gates. If they come out aggressively, the Panthers will be more hesitant to shoot and make life easier for Linus Ullmark.
Matthew Tkachuk is the Panthers’ best player. He led the Panthers with 109 points in the regular season and leads them with five Playoff points. However, his +/- of two is more impressive. The Panthers have scored five fewer goals than the Bruins in this series, but Tkachuk’s +/- is in the positive. That indicates that he is playing quite well, and the Panthers are at a much smaller disadvantage when he is on the ice.
Tkachuk does not need to change anything in this game. He only needs to keep making the right decisions on the ice.
David Pastrnak has been pretty quiet in this series. The Bruins’ star has two goals and four assists in four games. This is surprising, given how dominant he was during the season.
Pastrnak must return to form in this game and develop some momentum heading into the next series.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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