‘Almost like a game seven tonight’ for Bruins, Panthers

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There’s plenty at stake tonight when the Bruins host the Panthers at TD Garden.

Just ask Claude Julien.

“I don’t think you should be breathing easy and I don’t think anybody in there has been breathing easy,” the B’s head coach said, per CSNNE. “I think it’s just one of those things where we know where we’re at. We know what we have to do here we just have to stay with the task at hand here, and keep focusing on what we need to do.

“Dave [Krejci] said it, and we’re not denying that either: ‘It’s almost like a game seven tonight.’ A lot of stuff can happen one way or another here depending on the outcome.”

A loss tonight would be damaging for Boston, and virtually fatal for Florida. The Panthers head into tonight’s action four points back of the Bruins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, with just six games remaining in the regular season. But the Panthers also hold the benefit of playing the B’s twice more down the stretch — tonight, and again on Apr. 9.

To make that second chance worth something, though, Florida has to get a result this evening.

“We’re playing well and we’ve got to play well again tonight,” head coach Gerard Gallant said, per the team’s website. “It’s going to be two hungry teams looking for the two points.”

Florida should have confidence heading into this tilt, having secured three of a possible four points from Boston in the first two matchups of the season. That includes a 2-1 shootout victory on Mar. 21, one in which Roberto Luongo stopped 26 of 27 shots and all three shootout attempts.

Luongo will draw back in tonight after sitting out Sunday’s win over Ottawa — veteran Dan Ellis got the victory — and look to continue his solid run of play against the Bruins this year, having posted a 1.40 GAA and .942 save percentage in just under 130 minutes of action.