Bruins vs Panthers: keys to the game
|photo via panthers.nhl.com|
Losers of four of their last five, the Bruins have to start playing better now to snap themselves out of the first rut of their season.
One of the talking points leading up to this game was the return of former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas back into the Garden. However, B's fans won't see goalie Tim Thomas in action tonight, as he was officially ruled out around noontime.
Tim Thomas officially will not play tonight.
— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) November 7, 2013
The next time the Panthers return to Boston will be Tuesday, January 28th, so hopefully Thomas will be healed and well-rested to play in front of his old fans.
Coach Claude Julien had some pointed words about Thomas in regards to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship team, stating:
"...Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well as they did in front of him... This is an honest statement: Tim played well, but I think our team played just as well in front of him. You don’t win a Stanley Cup with just a goaltender. He won the Conn Smythe because he was very good, but at the same time I would like to hope the statistic of your goaltenders can also reflect the team in front of you." - Joe Haggerty - CSNNE
It's the first time anyone from the Bruins organization has really defended the team that played around Thomas in 2011, giving the team in front of Thomas some cred for pulling off the Title.
1.) Get the BMS line scoring
The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson have not lived up to the hype of their newly formed line through this far in the season. The B's cannot rely on only the first line pulling the weight in the goal-scoring department. The BMS line is crucial to this teams success, as when they're clicking, they provide an element of speed and skill that other teams struggle to match.
2.) Score first and often
The B's have given up the first goal in four straight games, resulting in them having to play catch-up. It is definitely not a way to live your life in the NHL. Scoring first and putting the pressure on the weak Panthers squad can go a long way to snapping out of the funk the team is playing in.
3.) Don't let the points slip away
The Panthers are having another sub-par season, sitting second to last in the Atlantic with 10 points. With the Bruins having not played their best hockey in some time, this is a good time to beat up on a weaker team and get back on the winning track. They've slipped a bit in the standings, as they now sit 4th in the Atlantic behind Detroit, Tampa Bay and the leaders Toronto. With the next two games at home versus Toronto and Tampa Bay, the two points up for grabs tonight can be the first step in propelling the B's back into first place.