It wasn’t Boston’s best game of the season but the result has to feel fantastic, and after the Olympics, the Bruins could return to NHL action as high as seventh in the Eastern Conference. Remember, the B’s began the trip in 12th after their 10-game slide.
Tuukka Rask was wonderful in the shootout and David Krejci was successful earlier to give him two shootout goals in the week. He is one of six Bruins who are off to Vancouver. They will next be in Black & Gold sweaters on March 2 at TD Garden, where they will host Montreal.
End of overtime, 2-2: You don’t see that too often, 3-on-3 play for a full minute. The B’s control the puck for much of the wide-open minute but cannot get one on net and go to a shootout for the fourth time in six games.
Overtime, 57 seconds, 2-2: Well that didn’t last long. Cory Stillman called for hooking and we have 3-on-3 action for a minute.
Overtime, 1:04, 2-2: The Panthers will have a 4-on-3 after a tough penalty on Blake Wheeler, which came just after David Krejci made a marvelous play to get him the puck.
Wheeler was whistled for goaltender interference.
Overtime, 2:10, 2-2: You can tell these two teams want to hit the break on a good note as this is a wild back-and-forth OT session. Good action here.
Overtime, 3:56, 2-2: A bit fast with that whistle if you are a Panthers fan. Tuukka Rask didn’t seem to ever have that one, but at least Florida gets a draw in the B’s zone here.
End of regulation, 2-2: Well, the Bruins get the one goal they need in the third period to pick up at least one point for the sixth straight game.
They outshoot the Panthers in the third period 19-6.
Third period, 3.1 seconds, 2-2: Now Florida can get a shot if it wins the faceoff here in front of Tuukka Rask.
Third period, 27.6 seconds, 2-2: A faceoff next to Tomas Vokoun will give the Bruins an opportunity after the Panthers’ timeout.
Third period, 1:00, 2-2: A minute before both teams get one point.
Third period, 2:39, 2-2: Back and forth action sees both teams with excellent chances fall by the wayside.
Third period, 4:02, 2-2: Milan Lucic gets two chances from the same spot on the ice in less than a minute.
The B’s have some sustained pressure in this period, in which they’ve outshot Florida 16-4.
Third period, 5:47, 2-2: Tuukka Rask sees some action in the last 30 seconds of the power play but stands tall, with the help of a few blocks. And seconds after the penalty expires we have some pushing and shoving in front of Rask that only serves to ratchet up an intensity that has been largely absent in this one.
Third period, 7:32, 2-2: A good start to the penalty kill effort for the B’s as they keep the puck in the Panthers zone here.
Third period, 8:16, 2-2: The Bruins score just as the power play ends when Marc Recchi deflects in a shot by Dennis Wideman.
It does not go into the books as a power-play goal but it was literally at the second of expiration, so by all intents and purposes, the B’s were still a man up and made the most of their first opportunity to cash in on a Panthers penalty.
Unfortunately, the very next shift sees Patrice Bergeron sent to the box and the Panthers can answer right back after the timeout.
Stephen Weiss had a man-advantage tally for Florida back in the first period.
Third period, 10:00, Panthers 2-1: Great play by Michael Ryder as he sustains a tripping penalty and nearly gets the puck to Blake Wheeler as he falls to the ice. It doesn’t work but the B’s have their first power play of the game.
A huge two minutes here.
Third period, 11:26, Panthers 2-1: Marc Savard has a team-high four shots and a few others which have been blocked before reaching the net, but it seems as if each has been taken from way outside.
Of course, as I type that, he gets one on Tomas Vokoun from just aside the right post.
Third period, 12:39, Panthers 2-1: The last penalty in this game (aside from the five minutes handed out after the second period fight) was Shawn Thornton’s back in the first period, but it was that holding infraction that helped the Panthers grab a lead. Pretty clean affair since.
Third period, 14:08, Panthers 2-1: A pad save by Tuukka Rask ends a long stretch without a whistle, and there wasn’t too much to speak of on the B’s end during that span. Simply not getting the chances they had early on Thursday.
Third period, 17:49, Panthers 2-1: Good to see Adam McQuaid out there with no issues with the hands after the pounding he put on Victor Oreskovich’s face last period.
The fight did serve to provide the B’s with enough juice to outplay Florida over the last few minutes of the second, but it remains to be seen if that can be maintained.
Third period, 19:55, Panthers 2-1: The Bruins have been outshot, outhit and have lost the majority of the faceoffs. While the margin is scant in each category, it signals a less than inspired overall effort.
End of second period, Panthers 2-1: No penalties, no scoring but one great fight. That’s what we have to show for the second period.
The Bruins will have 20 minutes to find a way to end this trip on a good note; otherwise, the two weeks off will have a much different feeling than it would with four straight wins in the pocket.
Second period, 1:39, Panthers 2-1: The B’s are all of a sudden getting some looks here and putting pressure on Tomas Voukon for the first time this period.
Second period, 4:54, Panthers 2-1: It really seemed as if the Bruins needed something to give them a little life and Adam McQuaid may have just provided it.
The rookie pounds away on Victor Oreskovich in a fight at mid-ice. Great work by McQuaid, who seemed to get the better of the brawl and got plenty of love from the bench.
Second period, 5:19, Panthers 2-1: The B’s have had some issues at times getting the puck out of the zone, and sometimes when they do it’s just seconds before the Panthers cycle back in.
Second period, 7:28, Panthers 2-1: After the Bruins scored five goals in the first 24:53 of Thursday night’s affair, they’ve notched just one in the ensuing 67-plus minutes.
Second period, 9:55, Panthers 2-1: Matt Hunwick pokes the puck away from a driving Panther, part of a nice effort in this one for the Bruins defenseman. Only Andrew Ference has had more ice time than Hunwick for the B’s thus far.
Second period, 13:44, Panthers 2-1: Another Bruins defenseman hit in the face by a shot gives us flashbacks to the Johnny Boychuk scare from last week.
This time it’s Dennis Wideman, who was in the slot when a shot sailed into his mug. Wideman got up rather quickly and appears as if he might be OK. It may not have caught him flush like the one that nailed Boychuk, who suffered a fractured orbital bone.
Second period, 16:54, Panthers 2-1: Steve Begin is the trailer on a 4-on-2 that set up real well. Begin’s shot is corralled by Tomas Vokoun, who appears shaken up after making the save.
Vokoun may have taken one where it counts, if you know what I mean.
Second period, 19:30, Panthers 2-1: There has been plenty of talk about the Panthers management calling out its team in a letter to fans, and perhaps it will serve to inspire those on the ice, but the B’s did make mistakes in the first 20 minutes that certainly helped out Florida.
Then again, David Krejci’s goal was a bit of a gift.
End of first period, Panthers 2-1: A late penalty hurts the B’s, who have now allowed two goals in each of the last three periods.
Boston had taken the game’s last five shots and seemingly grabbed a bit of momentum before Weiss’s goal, which was the Panthers only shot in a long stretch to end the period.
The Bruins end the period with a 10-8 shots advantage.
Florida scored four goals in their previous five games before getting on the board twice here.
First period, 1:25, 1-1: Shawn Thornton is whistled for holding and the weak Panthers power play will get another chance.
First period, 3:04, 1-1: Marco Sturm is almost all alone in front after a Florida turnover and some nifty Boston puck movement but Tomas Vokoun stops this one, with help from a flailing Keith Ballard, who did enough to delay Sturm.
First period, 4:06, 1-1: David Krejci had some nice chances Thursday night at Tampa Bay but was unable to find the back of the net. But he does here on a soft shot from a tight angle that Tomas Vokoun should’ve had.
It’s likely that Krejci was simply trying to get something to the net that would knock free for one of the trailing skaters, but Vokoun helped him out plenty.
It’s Krejci’s 11th goal and his eighth on the road this season.
First period, 4:17, Panthers 1-0: Milan Lucic lays out Gregory Campbell, one of two hits in a short span for No. 17.
First period, 5:59, Panthers 1-0: Another note on Tarnasky’s goal — he scored just once all last season and it came in the last of the 45 games he played.
Victor Oreskovich and Shawn Matthias get the assists.
First period, 6:38, Panthers 1-0: Forgive me for not mentioning it earlier but Byron Bitz is on the ice for just the second time this month.
First period, 8:31, Panthers 1-0: You kinda had the feeling that the Panthers were going to get on the board first as the ice was seemingly slanted in their favor from the start.
It’s the first goal of the season for Nick Tarnasky and the fifth straight scored against the B’s, who have some work to do.
First period, 11:01, 0-0: Milan Lucic chips the puck out of the Bruins’ zone to end a prolonged stretch in which the Panthers kept the pressure on.
First period, 12:30, 0-0: A long stretch of whistle-free hockey ends when a puck is deflected into the netting.
Although it may sound elementary, scoring first would be nice for the Bruins in this one, simply because of the way the last game ended.
If you don’t recall, Boston nearly coughed up a 5-0 lead by allowing four straight scores and hanging on in the final minute to secure a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay. Also, Tomas Vokoun has shut the B’s out the last two times he has seen them.
First period, 16:30, 0-0: The Bruins’ first real chance of the night sees Mark Recchi nearly put one in after a great cross-crease feed by Patric Bergeron.
First period, 17:50, 0-0: The B’s kill the first penalty of the game but there were a couple of hairy moments in there as the Panthers nearly executed some nice plays that were broken up.
First period, 19:50, 0-0: We are underway at BankAtlantic Center, which looks like it is about one-half full, and already Derek Morris is sent off with a hooking penalty.
Florida has the worst power play in the NHL, scoring just 15.2 percent of the time.
6:54 p.m.: For the sixth straight time Tuukka Rask is in net for the Bruins. At the very least, Tim Thomas will be rested when he heads to Vancouver to back up Ryan Miller.
Tomas Vokoun is between the pipes for the struggling Panthers.
6:28 p.m.: We are a little over a half-hour from the puck dropping in Sunrise and there is word that Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton will play in this one despite having bouts of food poisoning. Seems the two brawlers went to the same joint last night.
Still waiting on word as to whether Tuukka Rask will make his sixth straight start or if Tim Thomas will get a shot in net before representing Team USA in Vancouver.
11:38 p.m.: The Bruins can notch their second four-game winning streak of the season and enter the Winter Olympics break on a good note when they visit the reeling Florida Panthers.
It is the end of a four-game road trip which has seen the B’s catch fire, putting a 10-game losing streak in the past and climbing back into the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic scored two goals apiece in a 5-4 win at Tampa Bay on Thursday, the club’s best offensive showing since before Christmas.
Six Bruins players will shuttle off to the Olympics following the game but one, Miroslav Satan, is out of tonight’s affair with a cut hand.
Lucic and Shawn Thornton are both wrestling with a bout of food poisoning, potentially leaving Boston a bit shorthanded against the Panthers, losers of five straight.
We will have updates on their condition leading up to the 7 p.m. start from BankAtlantic Center.