BOSTON ( – The Florida Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the start of the regular season.

Thursday night, the Cats have one of the toughest tests so far when they play in Boston against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.

The Bruins will be looking to bounce back from the squads’ first regulation loss since October.

The Bruins have dominated the Panthers recently, having won five straight against Florida, and are 7-1-1 in the last nine games.

Florida is 6-2-1 over their last nine games and leads the Southeast Division. The Panthers are coming off a thrilling 5-4 victory over the second-place Washington Capitals.

While head coach Kevin Dineen said he viewed the contest against the four-time defending division champions as a big test for his squad; Stephen Weiss downplayed the idea of getting up more for a certain game than any other.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. The points are too important now to get caught up in rivalries and stuff,” Weiss said. “We have to focus on our game, making sure we’re doing (things) to be successful and we did it for forty minutes and it was enough.”

But the Panthers will be facing a stiff Bruins defense on Thursday. Boston is allowing just 2.04 goals per game and goalie Tim Thomas hasn’t lost in 10 starts since November 1st.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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