2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Panthers vs. Bruins Eastern 2nd Round preview

2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Panthers vs. Bruins Eastern 2nd Round preview
2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Panthers vs. Bruins Eastern 2nd Round preview
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The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs features eight teams in four best-of-7 series, which started Sunday. Today, NHL.com previews the Eastern Conference Second Round between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins.

(1A) Florida Panthers vs. (2A) Boston Bruins

Panthers: 52-24-6, 110 points; defeated Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in the first round

Bruins: 47-20-15, 109 points; defeated Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in the first round

Season series: FOREST 4-0-0; FLA 0-2-2

Game 1: Monday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC)

It’s a rematch.

The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers played an epic first-round series in 2023, with the Panthers prevailing in a stunning Game 7. This season, they’re meeting in the second round in a series sure to feature bad blood and revenge as narratives in a matchup that’s quickly becoming a rivalry.

To get here, the Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games. The Bruins went to seven games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, ending in Boston on Saturday with a 2-1 overtime win on a goal by David Pastrnak that provided a quick turnaround to their next opponent.

The Bruins have defeated the Panthers four times this season, twice in overtime. But the games that really mattered came last spring, when Boston went in as the prohibitive favorites after setting regular-season records for wins (65) and points (135), only to fall to Florida after leading the best-of-7 series 3 -1.

“There are no secrets,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “We’re divisional rivals. We played each other four times. And seven (in the playoffs last season). We’ve played each other enough. We understand each other.”

There’s no question the Bruins are looking for a different outcome this time.

“We have a real tough test coming ahead and we know that,” coach Jim Montgomery said. “We haven’t won anything yet. We’ve just earned the right to play in the second round.”

Meanwhile, the Panthers have their eyes set on a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final, where they were propelled after the series win against the Bruins in 2023.

Does that make them the favorite?

“I think it’s more for you to decide,” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said. “We just play our game. We know how to play, we know how to play hard and that’s what we’re going to do. We have the same mindset as last year. We want to outcompete every team we play, so it doesn’t It doesn’t matter who we play. We want to be at our best in every game, so it’s not our decision to decide who’s favored and who’s not.”

Game breakers

Panthers: Though the Panthers have some dangerous weapons in Barkov, Sam Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe is who the Bruins have to worry about the most. He led Florida with five goals in the first round and his nine points tied Tkachuk for the team lead. Verhaeghe scored in overtime to win Game 2. Over the past two postseasons he has five game-winning goals, three in OT including Game 7 against the Bruins last season. When the game is tight, keep an eye on Verhaeghe.

Bruins: Brad Marchand proved his mettle leading the Bruins to their first-round win against the Maple Leafs. It took over in Games 3 and 4 with three goals and two assists and finished the series with eight points (three goals, five assists). It’s not just his ability to produce. The Bruins feed off the emotion and fire of their captain, making his understanding of the gamesmanship in the playoffs just as important as the points he’s producing.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Stanley Cup Playoffs Panthers Bruins Eastern #2nd preview

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