‘All the bruises are gone and we feel pretty strong’: Panthers fresh and ready for second-round series against Bruins

FORT LAUDERDALE — It’s been a week since the Panthers finished off the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games to move onto the second round. 


Wrapping up their series early, the Panthers have been out of game action for six days, but have kept themselves busy with a few team skates as they awaited the winner of the Bruins – Leafs matchup. 


“Rest isn’t the right word, it’s recovery, right? You get two days off at home, you’re rested and recovered.” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said. “All the bruises are gone and we feel pretty strong.”


On Saturday, the Bruins avoided disaster, defeating the Leafs 2-1 in Game 7 thanks to David Pastrnank’s game winner.


Toronto was able to overcome a 3-1 deficit to force a winner takes all game in Boston — the same thing the Panthers did last season.


Unlike Florida, Toronto couldn’t get the job done. So now we are back to where we were last year — Florida vs Boston in the playoffs.


“Obviously a really good team over there,” Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour said of Boston. “You can look back at whoever won that series (Boston-Toronto), we got history with both of them.”

Last season, the Bruins were the overwhelming favorites in the series.

Florida was the lowest ranked team in the playoffs — narrowly getting in by just a point. The Bruins were the Presidents’ Trophy winners and chosen by many to win the cup. 


The guys from last year will never forget the borderline miracle they pulled off last year, however the 2023-24 Panthers are a different beast. 


Florida won Game 82 of the regular season, while Boston lost — flip flopping the division on the final day as the Panthers took home the Atlantic Division title. 


On Monday night, the Panthers will host the Bruins in Game 1 of the second round and they hope to take advantage of the home-ice they outright won. 


“It’s huge,” Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues spoke about playing in front of their fans . “They call it home-ice advantage for a reason. They (the fans) were loud, they were into it from Game 1 and it gives you a boost. 


The Panthers will be running the same lineup as they did in Game 5 against the Lightning, with Sergei Bobrovsky set to start again in net. 


Panthers forward, Sam Bennett, hasn’t played since Game 2 but has been skating away from the team. 


“He’s not far off,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said when asked about Bennett’s time table.


Puck drop will be at 8 p.m. ET in Sunrise.


Projected lines

Verhaeghe – Barkov – Tkachuk 

Luostarinen – Lundell – Reinhart 

Tarasenko – Stenlund – Rodrigues 

Cousins – Lorentz – Okposo


Forsling – Ekblad

Mikkola – Montour

Ekman-Larsson – Kulikov


Bobrovsky (Confirmed Starter)



The NHL has released the full second round schedule, but have not announced all of the start times just yet. 



Game 1: Monday, May 6 — 8 p.m. (Amerant Bank Arena)

Game 2: Wednesday, May 8 — 7:30 p.m. (Amerant Bank Arena)

Game 3: Friday, May 10 — 7 p.m. (TD Garden)

Game 4: Sunday, May 12 — TBD (TD Garden) 

Game 5: Tuesday, May 14 — TBD (Amerant Bank Arena)

Game 6: Friday, May 17 — TBD (TD Garden)

Game 7: Sunday, May 19 — TBD (Amerant Bank Arena)

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