The Atlantic Division rivals faced off four times in the regular season, with each team emerging victorious two times. Boston ended the season with a historic 65-12-5 record, while the Panthers finished 42-32-8, claiming the last of eight Eastern Conference playoff spots.
Boston comes in boasting the NHL’s top defense and really no weaknesses through its lineup. Florida brings an impressive offense to the table that it hopes will be enough to upset the top-seeded Bruins.
What should fans keep an eye on in the Bruins/Panthers series?
Every series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is defined by key matchups and turning points. To get you ready for the Bruins and Panthers, here are five things to watch in this first-round series.
On one side of this matchup is about as much certainty as a team could have when it comes to goaltending. The Bruins bring Vezina Trophy favorite Linus Ullmark into this series with the also impressive Jeremey Swayman behind him.
No matter what happens, Boston is going to feel comfortable with the player that it has tending the twine. Ullmark led the NHL in save percentage (.938), goals against average (1.89), and wins (40). Swayman followed closely behind, ranking fourth in the first two categories.
For Florida, however, three goalies split time this season, and none of them were overly impressive.
The two goalies that the Panthers expected to have leading the way this season, Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight, each posted a .901 save percentage and a goals against average above three.
30-year-old Alex Lyon, meanwhile, set a career-high in games played (15) while leading the Cats with a .914 save percentage and 2.89 goals against average.
While Boston will have confidence in either of its netminders, Florida should have questions about all three of theirs. If a Panthers goalie can get hot, this series could become competitive. If the goaltending on each side looks like it did in the regular season, this series will be over quickly.