Florida Panthers: A View Inside the Enemy – Boston Bruins

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 19: Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal on Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs with his teammates in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 19, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 19: Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal on Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs with his teammates in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 19, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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In the final part of ‘a view inside the enemy,’ I take a closer look at the Florida Panthers’ third rival and break down their roster. Today’s enemy… the Boston Bruins!

Many of you have probably noticed the trend in this series. In part one and two, I broke down two Atlantic Division teams with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. Now, that trend continues in part three with the Boston Bruins.

Heading into the 2018-19 season, I’ve always said that the Bolts and Leafs will finish as the No. 1 and 2 seed, respectively. On the other hand, I truly believe that the 3rd seed will come down to a fight between the Bruins and the Panthers.

It’s certainly not impossible for the Cats to place top 3 in their division, but the team that’s going to be standing in their way is the big, bad Boston Bruins.

As we know, the Bruins play a physical game meshed with speed and skill. HC Bruce Cassidy has his team utilizing the cycle in the opposition’s end, which allows his players to retain more of the puck. This specific system was the recipe for success against the Maple Leafs in the first round last season.

Boston’s core has remained the same with Bergeron, Pastrnak, and Marchand all returning, while they added forward Chris Wagner, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, and defenseman John Moore via July’s free agency period.

Their forward group possesses some fine depth pieces to compliment the three aforementioned players. Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, and David Krejci are all players who can be counted on to put the puck in the net.

Their defense is blended with a mix of youth and veteran presence. The notable vets on the B’s blue line are Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller; three defensemen who are rather experienced in this league. The rest of the D corp is filled out with young blood like Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Torey Krug, and Charlie McAvoy.

Finishing off in goal, the Bruins own one of the best goaltenders in the game, known simply as Tuukka Rask. His understudy, of course, is veteran netminder Jaroslav Halak who they recently signed.

When you look at this roster, you probably think that this is a tough team to beat. If you’re one who thinks that, you’re absolutely right, the Bruins are a difficult team to defeat. But they aren’t impossible to get around!

What the Cats need to pay close attention to is the Bruins’ offense. Boston is deep up front and will make you pay on any mistakes you make. On top of that, they’re a team who thrive off physicality and grit and aren’t afraid to get to the dirty areas to score.

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Additionally, the B’s have a well-known agitator who I’m sure you all know: Brad Marchand. Marchand isn’t afraid to get up in your face despite his short stature and even being one of the smaller forwards in the league, he’ll do his best to get you off your game.

What the Panthers need to do a good job of is keeping their composure. Marchand is just one of several players that the Bruins own who aren’t afraid to pester or get underneath your skin. The Bruins use this to their advantage to draw penalties, and as tedious as it may be, it works.

According to NHL.com, the Bruins’ power play ranked 4th last season across the entire league. That’s something that Bob Boughner will have to monitor closely, as Boston can pull away and finish opponents off solely with their special teams.

That’s what the Panthers need to keep an eye on, but how can they exploit the Bruins? Well, looking at their inexperienced defensive core, it’s pretty fair to say that’s where they’re most vulnerable.

The B’s showed glimpses of defensive breakdowns against the Leafs in round one and showed a ton against the Lightning in round two. With aging defensemen like Chara and McQuaid still skating on their blue line, players like Barkov, Huberdeau, Trocheck, and others should have no problem blazing through them on the wing or down the middle.

Playing a clean, counter-attacking style is what’ll finish off this team. The Bruins love to attack in numbers but can sometimes forget about their defensive assignments. If the Panthers can remain neat, calm, and tidy in their own end, and hit them hard on the counter, then the Cats should have a relatively good shot at beating the Bruins.

Another weakness that occurs from time to time is their goaltending. As good as Tuukka Rask may be, he’s shown signs of inconsistency. He’s a goalie who steals games on his best nights but blows games on his worst.

If the Panthers can pop in a couple of early goals, they’ll be golden. There’s no better feeling than chasing out an opponent’s netminder and deflating their confidence early on in a game.

the Cats and the Bruins meet four times this season with meetings #1 and #3 being held in Sunrise, Florida, while #2 and #4 will be played at TD Gardens. These four crucial games will likely determine who places third in the Atlantic Division.

There’s no reason why the Panthers can’t take the season series once again. In last year’s season series with a top-six heavy forward group, the Cats defeated the Bruins by a score of 3-1. Now constructed differently with more depth and more skill, the tools are all there for the Panthers to repeat.

Next. Henrik Borgström Could Blossom This Season. dark

If the Panthers want to place minimum third in the Atlantic, they’ll have to go out and defeat the Bruins like they did last season. Boston is tough – we all recognize that – but in order to book your ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you’ll have to beat the best of the best…