Panthers hope to play spoiler against Bruins in season finale

Boston Bruins center Noel Acciari slides the puck thru the 5 hole of Ottawa Senators goaltender Daniel Taylor as the Bruins take on the Senators at the Garden

And while the Bruins do not have the top spot, they will still be taking part in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That's a continuation of success that Marner found against Boston as a rookie in the 2016-17 season, when he tallied 1-3-4 totals in four games for a two-year total of four goals and nine assists for 13 points in eight games. But since then, they have gotten incredible play out of their stars, great contributions from their young players and rookies, and strong showings from both goalies. Defensively, the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing 2.8 goals per game and are killing 81.4 percent of their opponents power plays.

"I just felt that coming down the stretch here you could start to see us mentally get exhausted", said Cassidy.

That history will be a reference point throughout the course of the series, as a large contingent of Boston's 2013 squad (Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug and Tuukka Rask) make up the current club's core group, while Toronto has gone through a significant roster upheaval after finishing last in the National Hockey League in 2015-16. We didn't back in, I don't think.

David Backes and David Pastrnak did the scoring for the Bruins, who needed a victory to overtake the Lightning. Only the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins had a better power-play percentage than the Maple Leafs, who converted on one of every four power plays this season.

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There was further praise from Perez, who believes the Los Blancos number seven is the "great heir" to club legend Alfredo Di Stefano .

"Opportunity for us", Cassidy said minutes later in his opening postgame comment about Sunday's mega opportunity to win the Eastern Conference after Carolina prevailed, "hopefully we're up to the task".

With the game meaningful, Cassidy said he will start Tuukka Rask in goal. "That's the challenge for all of us in this room". They did not win the division, however, because they lost the final game of the season to the Florida Panthers.

"It's disappointing. We were really hoping that we'd get a little help from some other teams and maybe get in", Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck said.

The Bruins outshot Florida, 26-6, in the third period. He scored 32 goals this season, matching his total from previous year, but he's on this list because of his work on the power play.

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"Every team has hard parts of it", Cassidy said, "and at the end of the year, you're a little heavy-legged, but mentally, looked like we were losing some of our passion, and that showed in the first period". Pastrnak led the Bruins with 35 goals and had a career-high 80 points. "On Thursday, I believe we will be the 50-win team you saw all year and we are not going to let one game define us".

Brad Marchand will need to find his game again if the Bruins want to succeed.

Game one and two will be played in Boston, with games three and four held in Toronto. He scored one more goal than last year and recorded ten more assists and points than last year.

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