SUNRISE, Fla. — What a difference two weeks can make. When the Florida Panthers visited Boston Nov. 21, they left the TD Banknorth Garden on the short end of a 4-2 decision and had dropped three out of their last four.
Now the rematch here at BankAtlantic Center will feature two of the hottest teams in the NHL. While the Bruins have won three in a row and seven of eight, the Panthers have won three straight and are 4-0-2 since leaving the Hub that Friday night last month.
And the success for Florida has come despite a rash of injuries, which will leave them without their second- and fourth-leading scorers (David Booth, Nathan Horton), as well as forwards Richard Zednik and Rostislav Olesz, and defenseman Noah Welch.
Player to Watch: In February 2006, the Bruins claimed goaltender Craig Anderson on waivers. He never appeared in a game before he was again plucked off the waiver wire. After a couple more stops, Anderson has found a home in Florida — and right now he’s made Tomas Vokoun into one of the highest-paid back-up netminders in the game.
Over his last three games, all wins, Anderson has stopped 105 of 109 shots. He now leads the league with a .947 save percentage and is third with a 1.89 goals-against average. And the Panthers are 14-3-3 in games he’s started since last Jan. 3.
What they’re writing: Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel investigates forward Greg Campbell’s newfound offensive prowess.
Quotable: Like the Bruins of last season, the Panthers seem to be settling into their first-year head coach Pete DeBoer’s system — after some growing pains in the easy going. Bruins head coach Claude Julien can tell the Panthers are coming around.
“I don’t think they’ve been a bad team since the beginning of the year. But there’s been a new coach coming in, and he’s put his system in place. And unfortunately it doesn’t get done overnight. I think they’re starting to reap the benefits now and feeling more and more comfortable with what they’re asking of them and they’re getting good goaltending and the rest is falling into place.”