The Boston Bruins lead the Northeast Division and rank among the highest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference, but coach Claude Julien feels some of his players are underachieving.
Hosting the Florida Panthers could provide a good chance for the Bruins to right themselves before the All-Star break.
The Bruins look to re-establish themselves offensively and sweep the season series from the Panthers on Wednesday night.
Boston (27-15-7) leads Montreal by two points atop the Northeast, and its 3.04 goals per game rank third in the conference.
The Bruins outscored opponents 37-18 during a 6-2-0 stretch, but turned in a listless performance Monday in a 2-0 defeat at Los Angeles. The sudden lack of scoring bothered Julien.
"I think right now, we need some guys to step up and start scoring some goals for us," he said. "Not relying on the same people all the time. At one point you can get away with it, but there's some guys who have been dry for some time now."
One of those players is former Panther Nathan Horton, who has 12 goals and 16 assists on the season but only one goal over his last 19 games and none in his last nine. The right wing had three assists Nov. 18 in a 4-0 home win over Florida (22-21-5), the team for which he played his first six NHL seasons before getting dealt to Boston last June.
Horton failed to register a point in Boston's other two games against the Panthers this season, a 3-1 win in Florida on Nov. 24 and a 3-2 shootout victory on the road Dec. 27.
David Krejci is another Bruin who has gone cold. He scored twice in last month's shootout win over Florida, but has no goals in 15 games since.
Making Horton and Krejci's contributions more important, Marc Savard is out indefinitely with a moderate concussion, sustained during Saturday's 6-2 victory over Colorado.
Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 39 points, has played well in January with eight goals and eight assists in 13 games. The center has struggled recently against the Panthers, though, with one goal and two assists in his last 10 games versus Florida.
Goaltender Tim Thomas, who will along with defenseman Zdeno Chara represent Boston at Sunday's All-Star game, has won his last four home starts with a 1.50 goals-against average and two shutouts. He's 5-1-1 with a 1.26 GAA and one shutout in his last seven meetings with Florida.
One of three teams without an All-Star, the Panthers are trying to enter the break with positive momentum after beating the New York Rangers 4-3 on Tuesday, snapping a four-game slide. Florida was outshot 35-17, but Mike Weaver scored the game-winner on the team's lone shot of the third period.
Panthers center Mike Santorelli added a goal and an assist Tuesday, giving him four goals and nine assists in his last 15 games. Santorelli scored against Thomas in regulation last month but was denied on a shootout attempt.
The Bruins are 6-1-1 over the last eight meetings in this series.
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