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Panthers and Bruins Running it Back

We’ve got a rematch from last year in the second round!

For the second straight year, the Panthers and Bruins will meet in the NHL playoffs. A little more than twelve months ago, the Bs were heavy favorites after a historic regular season set them up with the eight-seed Panthers. We all remember how that went. This time around, the odds are in Florida’s favor, but they’ll be going against a hungry Bruins team looking for revenge after the 2023 collapse. After going seven games against Toronto, does Boston stand a chance against this stacked Florida team? Let’s get into it.

The Panthers

They’re the favorites in this series for a reason. Ever since their improbable Stanley Cup run a year ago, the Florida Panthers have been one of the toughest teams to play against in the entire league. Matt Tkachuk once again leads a talented and nasty core group of forwards while Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad headline the defencemen. In net, they’ve got one of the best when he’s on his game in Sergei Bobrovsky. Basically, there are no holes in this Panthers lineup, and that’s a big reason why they made their first round series against Tampa Bay look shockingly simple. 

Not only is Florida very good, but they’re also built for the toughness of playoff hockey. It was pretty clear that they ran out of gas in last year’s Finals against Vegas, but this year, they know what to expect from a long run in the postseason. They’re also just as deep at forward as they were last year, and I expect that to be a serious advantage for them in this series. Boston is fairly top heavy, whereas the Panthers can roll three scoring lines in each and every game. 

The Bruins

David Pastrnak may not have been the best version of himself in the first round, but he came up big when it mattered most for Boston, and now, they get their rematch with the Panthers. To get past Florida, though, he’ll need to be better than he was against Toronto. It’s not just Pasta they’ll be counting on, as Boston needs great performances from just about everyone in this series to move on to the Conference Finals. The Bs aren’t as strong a team as last year, and unless they’re at their very best, the Panthers could roll through them just like they did in the last three games of last year’s matchup. 

One thing Boston does have going for them is Jeremy Swayman in net. With Sergei Bobrovsky in the crease for the Panthers, the Bruins will need to win low-scoring games and Swayman should give them opportunities to do so. The Bruins’ goaltender has been one of the best in the league all year and if he can steal a game or two early in this series, Boston will have a legitimate chance at pulling off the upset. 

Panthers and Bruins – The Pick

I expect the Bruins to fight hard in this series, but when it’s said and done, the Panthers will move on. As good as Jeremy Swayman is for Boston, Sergei Bobrovsky can be equally as good for the Panthers. If goaltending is a wash, I think Florida has a serious advantage due to their depth in the lineup. Of course, Swayman could outplay Bob and make things between the Panthers and Bruins very interesting, but it’s tough to imagine that happening given Sergei’s postseason play over Florida’s last five playoff series. In this one, I’ll take the PANTHERS in 6. 

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