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The Panthers 2011-12 season is quickly approaching and with that, floridapanthers.com is going 15 in 15 by taking a look at the top five questions, players to watch and games of the season on a countdown to the home opener on October 15th against Tampa Bay. We'll unveil one of the top five on a rotating basis each day to help fans get ready for what hopes to be an exciting season.

PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE HOME OPENER

Countdown 15: No. 5 Game; December 8 vs Boston

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 5:22 PM / Countdown To Home Opener 2011
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Countdown 15: No. 5 Game; December 8 vs Boston


David Booth and the Panthers look to win their first game against Tim Thomas and the Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins for the first time since April 1, 2010 when they meet in Boston on December 8, 2011 (Getty Images)
In today's topic (the countdown's very first), we take a closer look at the game at the Boston Bruins on December 8th in the Top 5 Games this season.

Those that watched the playoffs this past summer saw the Bruins earn three Game-7 victories, including a 4-0 shutout in a hostile Vancouver environment in the Stanley Cup Finals, as they hoisted the shiny silver trophy.

Now after a summer of celebrating it will be their turn to defend the Cup as they look to win their seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history.

For the Panthers, December 8th will be the first time playing the Black and Gold during the 2011-12 season which is quite late for the two teams to start their four game season series. The last time that the series kicked off so late (first game in December) came during the 2002-03 season when they first played December 21.

The Panthers, with a possible 12 new players on the roster, should have found chemistry as well as gelling as a team by the time their meeting rolls around. The Bruins on the other hand have 17 players with their names engraved on the Cup that gained significant experience during their march to Lord Stanley's trophy. Leading the way on the front end are forwards David Krejci (12 goals, 23 points in 25 games), Patrice Bergeron (20 points in 23 games) and Brad Marchand (11 goals in 25 games). Along the blueliner are captain Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Then between the pipes is the unorthodox Tim Thomas who took home the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP while going 16-9 with four shutouts and a 1.98 goals against and a .940 save percentage.

It's like the old saying goes. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best. The Bruins were the best of the best for the 2010-11 season and the Panthers will see how they stack up.

If the Stanley Cup angle isn't incentive enough, then the Panthers can use getting a victory angle as the Panthers last victory against the Bruins came on April 1, 2010. Florida lost all four games (0-3-1) last season by a combined eight goals (12-4).

Bring on the champs.
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