Bruins begin NHL betting road trip in Florida

By: Joe Freda | Sunday, December 26, 2010
Michael Frolik

Michael Frolik is among the assists leaders for the Panthers with 13.

The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers have both had three days off for the holidays, resuming action against each other as part of Monday’s league schedule.  Boston begins a five-game road trip at BankAtlantic Center after going 2-1 in its last three contests, with the ‘under’ cashing at 3-0.  Florida starts a three-game homestand following a 6-3 mark in its last nine duels, with the ‘over’ going 5-4.

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas improved to a record of 16-4-3 (35 points) in Thursday’s 4-1 win for Boston as a 160 home favorite against the Atlanta Thrashers.  The 36-year-old logged 26 saves, leading his defense in killing all three of Atlanta’s power plays.

Boston’s Shawn Thornton notched two goals, following an early five-minute fighting infraction.  The left wing ended an eight-game drought without points, connecting with a slapshot and backhander.

Thornton’s mate Patrice Bergeron logged one goal and one assist, while winning 12-of-17 faceoffs.  The Boston center finished with two points for the third time in his last four games.

Bruins left wing Milan Lucic was one of eight players issued penalties for a melee in the third period.  Boston’s points leader (27) received an automatic suspension and is listed as “out indefinitely” by, with the number of games still to be determined.

The lopsided affair’s combined five goals ducked below the NHL odds.  Boston outshot Atlanta, 36-27, while going 1-for-4 on power play chances.

The Bruins are 9-5-1 (19 points) in their first 15 road games, with the ‘under’ collecting at 7-4-4.  Bergeron and Co. have allowed 33.7 SOG per game in that span, while killing 86.3 percent of their penalties.

Florida ended a three-game road swing with Thursday’s 4-3 win as a 173 underdog against the Buffalo Sabres.  Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison poked a go-ahead goal at 14:53 of the third period to bail out his squad, who blew an early 3-0 lead.

Garrison’s mates Chris Higgins and Evgeny Dadonov logged two goals and two assists, respectively.  Higgins ended a two-game scoring slump, while Dadonov picked up points for the fourth time in his last five games.

Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun stopped 45-of-48 shots, allowing one goal in his squad’s five shorthanded stints.  The Czechoslovakia native improved to 14-13 in his 27 outings, while inflating his GAA to 2.51.

The contest’s combined seven goals leaped ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 5 ½.  Florida went 1-for-4 on its power play chances, while outdrawing Buffalo in faceoffs, 35-26.

The Panthers are 7-6 in their 13 home dates, with the ‘over’ also going 7-6.  Peter DeBoer’s crew has launched 33.5 SOG per game in that stretch, while scoring on 10.9 percent of its power plays.

Boston is 4-1 in its last five meetings against Florida, with the ‘under’ cashing at 4-0-1.

The Bruins picked up a 3-1 win as 127 road favorites in a Nov. 24 clash between the foes.  Thomas recorded 31 saves for Boston, while his mates scored all three of their goals in the duel’s final stanza.

Monday’s rematch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (PT), with NESN and Fox Sports Florida providing television coverage.

Boston is playing the front end of a back-to-back spot, continuing its road journey with Tuesday night’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Florida will be idle for three days, remaining home for Friday afternoon's matinee against the Montreal Canadiens.

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