It’s a hockey day in the Hub again, with the Panthers on Causeway Street tonight in a battle at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. The Penguins hold the No. 1 slot in the East with 36 points, followed by the Bruins (35) and Panthers (34). The Flyers, also with 35 points, are slotted fourth, one of the quirks of the NHL’s seeding system.
The Bruins are back to work after seeing their long run of success, 14-0-1, come crashing down in a 2-1 loss to the Jets Tuesday night in Winnipeg.
The Bruins will have Tyler Seguin back in the lineup. He was scratched on Tuesday, ostensibly for oversleeping and arriving late at a team breakfast meeting. But Sleepy Teen is back in there tonight (see related story here on boston.com) and is expected to ride right wing on a line with Brad Marchand and center Patrice Bergeron.
”He’s fine. I’m fine. He’s in the lineup tonight,” said coach Claude Julien.
Seguin remains the club’s No. 1 point-getter with 13-12–25 in 25 games. He connected for a goal in Monday night’s 3-1 win at Pittsburgh.
The revived Panthers have three forwards averaging more than one point per game, including the likes of ex-Boston prospect Kris Versteeg (12-16–28), longtime Floridian Stephen Weiss (11-18–29) and Tomas Fleischmann (12-16–28). Top puck-moving defenseman Brian Campbell is also hot with a 2-21–23 line.
”We certainly would have liked to catch the Bruins in the first two weeks of the season,” noted rookie head coach Kevin Dineen, ”when they had that little hangover going.”
The Bruins play again Saturday night in Columbus.
Puck drop: 7:05 p.m. EST
Record: Bruins, 17-8-1; Panthers, 15-8-4.
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Jordan Caron, Steve Kampfer
Storylines: Smoking hot on offense during their protracted 14-0-1 run, the Bruins will try to rekindle their scoring touch after connecting for only one goal against the Jets. During the long run, the Bruins outscored the opposition, 66-27…Tim Thomas, who turned aside 45 shots on Monday for his 13th win, is expected back in net. No telling if the Panthers will go with ex-Canadien Jose Theodore or former BC standout Scott Clemmensen. Clemmensen was sidelined at the start of the season with a knee injury but is now 3-0-0 in three starts…The Bruins have been blanked on the power play in three of the last six games and have gone 3-for-23 (13 percent) on the man-advantage in that stretch. They rank 17th overall on the PP with a 16.8 percent success rate. The Panthers (20.4) percent) rank fourth overall. They went a red-hot 5-for-10 in back-to back wins over San Jose and Washington…According to league attendance figures, the Panthers have averaged slightly more than 17,000 to each of their last three home games in Sunrise…..Tonight’s guys in stripes includd referees Mike Hassenfratz and Brad Watson, along with linesmen Matt MacPherson and Derek Nansen.