Panthers spoil Bruins' bid for top seed in East

Boston Bruins Tommy Wingels and Tim Schaller

As a result, the Bruins will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One more win would have secured the B's the top spot. The Panthers were out shooting the Bruins 20-17 in a game they had nothing to play for.

Toronto entered this season with expectations of making the playoffs and getting past the first round after last season's early exit at the hands of the Capitals. This matchup is the ideal example as to why the National Hockey League playoff format needs to be re-done. The official schedule had the Boston Bruins vs.

That's the positive spin given by Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy after a disheartening 4-2 loss to the Panthers at the Garden. Ridiculous in theory and in practice.

The Bruins host Florida on Sunday night in a game postponed by a winter storm January 4. "It should be a terrific series if both teams are on their game".

Freddie Anderson took the Toronto franchise record of wins with 38 this season - and it is finally nice to see the Leafs have a goalie they can count on to get them wins. "You want that number one seed, but when you have pressure, and you have expectation, what does that tell you?"

Kyle Busch wins at Texas for 1st victory of year
I think the first set of tires that came off the tire looked great. "We weren't as good behind him as we were in front of him". Harvick said he was sabotaged by a series of mishaps stemming from the pit guns used to change tires.

NOTES: Senators D Erik Karlsson missed his third straight game, remaining at home with his wife after the couple's first son was stillborn last month. The first three are back in full force, and there are reports that Nash may be available for the playoffs. He assisted on the game-tying goal in the final minute of the first meeting between the Bruins and Leafs, and then he assisted on Patrick Marleau's OT victor. But when the series shifts to Toronto, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will nearly certainly do his best to get Matthews on the ice whenever Chara heads to the bench, which could make a significant difference in opening up just enough room for Matthews to operate. They also feature such a deep bevvy of weapons, it's hard to know who to keep an eye on. Marner led the team in points this season with 69 and many of those came on the power play with consistent success with linemates Nazem Kadri and James van Reimsdyk.

Thought the season series did not go in the Bruins favor, the playoffs are a different animal and anything can happen.

The thing to watch in this matchup is the special teams.

The two also play on Toronto's top power-play unit.

The Leafs beat the Bruins three of four times this season but Boston finished with more points. However, Boston's penalty killing was better that Toronto's with the Bruins clocking in at 83.7% (3rd in the NHL), with the Maple Leafs at 81.4% (11th in the NHL). There is a lot of looking in the mirror to do, and a lot of soul seraching because I don't think anybody in the organization or fan base expected that result and questions have to be asked and answered. Sunday was his last regular-season hurrah, and the Garden crowd bid him adieu with several standing ovations after delivering his pre-game performance and during interviews and career montages in the first period. I'd like to think that the veteran leadership of the Bruins will be the X-factor, allowing the Bruins to come out on top 4-2 in the series, especially if they're back to full strength.

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