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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.

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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 50 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 53 10 27 9 37
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 53 10 25 11 35
V. Trocheck 53 17 16 3 33
R. Smith 53 16 15 10 31
B. Pirri 49 10 13 -5 23
A. Ekblad 49 10 12 20 22
B. Campbell 53 4 16 16 20
N. Bjugstad 38 9 8 -4 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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