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5 Things To Watch: Jan. 28 at Boston

Whether you're going to the game or if you can't make it and are catching the game on FOX Sports Florida or 560 WQAM, here are the five things to look for in tonight's matchup against the Bruins.

Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 2:00 PM / News
By Nikhil Ghorpade  - FloridaPanthers.com
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5 Things To Watch: Jan. 28 at Boston
Whether you\'re going to the game or if you can\'t make it and are catching the game on FOX Sports Florida or 560 WQAM, here are the five things to look for in tonight\'s matchup against the Bruins.

Whether you're going to the game or if you can't make it and are catching the game on FOX Sports Florida or 560 WQAM, here are the five things to look for in tonight's matchup against Boston.

PANTHERS (21-24-7) at BRUINS (33-15-3)
7:00 PM ET; TV: FOX Sports Network; RADIO: 560 AM
Last 10: Florida 5-4-1; Boston 6-3-1

TIMMY’S RETURN: It will be a big homecoming game for Tim Thomas. The Panthers goaltender crafted his career in the very building Florida will travel to on Tuesday, for the opposing team no less. The former Bruin, Thomas reached legendary status while playing out of TD Garden and even helped the team win a Stanley Cup in 2011 (although that was won in Vancouver in Game 7). The Panthers have already made a trip up to B-Town this season, falling to the Bruins 4-1 however backup goalie, Scott Clemmensen, got the start in that game. Tuesday will be emotional for Thomas, as he will finally face his former team in his former home arena.

A HELPING HAND: When it comes to help, Tom Gilbert is your man. The defenseman leads Florida with 24 points this season, all but two coming from assists. These past three games treated Gilbert well, as he carded a pair of assists in games versus Buffalo last Tuesday, Colorado on Friday and Detroit on Sunday. Overtime against the Red Wings on Sunday saw Gilbert help out in a different way stopping a sure Detroit game winner after Thomas made two stops seconds prior.

3’S A CHARM: The Panthers give you a reason to forgo a bathroom break and stay in your seat for the whole period. Florida has scored three goals in a single period in four of their last seven games, showing that opponents must always be on the lookout for a Panther attack. Sticking to your seat until the final whistle became even more evident on Sunday when the Panthers were down 3-1 in Detroit heading into the third but rallied back with three goals in the final period to force overtime.

ATOP THE ATLANTIC: The Panthers will have their work cut out for them as they head to Boston looking for their first win of the season series. The Bruins sit first in the Atlantic division and may play for the Conference title come springtime. Boston is led by a solid defense that may trouble the Panthers led by big 6’9 captain Zdeno Chara and netminder Tuukka Rask, though the Bruins have not had a great January in comparison to the rest of their season and Tuesday might be the Panthers opportunity to pounce on the division leader after they play Monday night on Long Island.

ON THE ROAD: Road trips seem to suit the Panthers pretty well as they have won three straight games away from the BB&T Center and are 10-5-1 on the road since mid-November. Florida does not seem to be too intimidated by the 7th man factor while playing away, though TD Garden is known for having some of the best, and most ravenous, fans in the NHL. After handling the crowds in Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit, Florida should be prepared for whatever Bostonians throw at them.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 64 22 16 -9 38
J. Huberdeau 61 9 28 3 37
A. Ekblad 64 11 23 7 34
J. Jokinen 63 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 62 11 21 8 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 55 17 12 -4 29
B. Campbell 64 3 20 2 23
A. Barkov 53 10 12 -5 22
V. Trocheck 34 5 11 8 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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