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.

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

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 5:22 PM ET / 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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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