Bruins-Panthers Preview

The Associated Press

The Florida Panthers have come up empty on the power play during a four-game home losing streak, and that's bad news as they get ready to host the Boston Bruins and their league-best penalty kill.

The Bruins are seeking a third straight victory and could enjoy a huge goaltending advantage in Sunday's matchup with the Panthers.

Florida (5-8-4) is trying to avoid its first five-game home slide since an 0-4-1 stretch Feb. 16-March 6, 2011. The Panthers are 0-1-3 in this skid, going 0 for 13 with the man advantage.

Boston (10-2-2) is at 94.4 percent on the penalty kill. The Bruins have killed off all 15 chances over their last five games, with Tampa Bay coming up empty on three opportunities in Boston's 4-2 road victory Thursday.

"We have (played well) all year on the penalty kill," right wing Nathan Horton said. "Players go out there and they really get the job done, they really help us and they give us momentum."

Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and improved to 4-0-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average in his last four road starts. He is 4-1-0 in five starts against the Panthers with a 0.97 GAA - his lowest against any Eastern Conference foe.

The struggling Panthers goaltenders have posted a 3.54 GAA for one of the league's worst marks.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 37 of 40 shots in his first start of the season Friday in a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh. The 23-year-old Markstrom was called up from the minors Wednesday.

"The second period we lost our legs and he made a big difference," coach Kevin Dineen said. "We had guys caught on a long change and he did a good job of coming up big when we needed him. That was a good showing by Jacob."

Scott Clemmensen had 32 saves for his first win in Florida's previous game, a 5-2 victory at Philadelphia on Thursday. Jose Theodore is 0-2-2 with a 3.87 GAA in his last four starts, although he's 10-1-1 with a 1.94 GAA in his past 12 appearances against the Bruins.

Horton had his first two-goal game Thursday. The former Panthers winger has never scored in seven games against his original NHL team, with no points in three games as a visitor at the BB&T Center even though the Bruins have won all of them.

Boston coach Claude Julien has been looking for others to step up and support Brad Marchand, who has a team-high nine goals. Julien feels Horton, who has been plagued by concussions, is poised to do so.

"He's one of the elite right wingers in the league when he's on top of his game," said Julien about Horton. "He's got so much potential, and we know that."

The Bruins will once again get their first look at one of the league's top rookies after Cory Conacher scored against them Thursday. Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau ranks second to Conacher among first-year players with 13 points.

These teams split four meetings last season, with Boston winning once in a shootout. Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had five points to lead the Bruins while Brian Campbell topped the Panthers with four.