That moves Florida ahead of Boston into second place in the East as the Bruins drop their second straight after going 15 games without a regulation loss.
Boston will look to get back on track on Saturday when the Bruins head to Columbus.
Third Period, 19:18, Panthers 2-0: The Panthers ice it as Kris Versteeg wins a race to a loose puck and flips in an empty-netter in the final minute.
Third Period, 17:28, Panthers 1-0: The Panthers finally break the stalemate as Tomas Kopecky scores on a rebound in front.
Shawn Matthias had the initial shot from the left wing. Thomas gave up a rebound in front that Sean Bergenheim fanned on, but Kopecky banged it home on the follow up.
Third Period, 15:30, 0-0: Marco Sturm is almost the hero in his return to Boston, but Thomas denies him on a point-blank chance from the top of the crease.
Third Period, 14:20, 0-0: Joe Corvo breaks up a 2-on-1 chance for the Panthers in a rare Florida scoring opportunity. The Bruins are playing most of the period in the Florida end, but still have nothing to show for it.
Third Period, 10:24, 0-0: After a string of chances for the Bruins, the Panthers finally counter with a spinning move in the high slot by Dmitry Kulikov, but Thomas snares the shot for a faceoff.
Third Period, 7:36, 0-0: The Bruins continue to press and are up to a 32-22 lead in shots, which doesn't include the many posts they've hit in this one, but they still can't get anything past Theodore.
Third Period, 5:58, 0-0: Tyler Seguin with his best chance of the night, using his speed to break down the right wing, then stopping and firing a shot from the circle, but Theodore turns that aside as well.
Third Period, 4:09, 0-0: The Bruins threaten again, with Milan Lucic alone in the slot for a bid, but Theodore flashes the glove to deny him.
Third Period, 0:00, 0-0: They're under way in the final frame here at the Garden, where the Bruins and Panthers remain scoreless in a key clash between Eastern Conference division leaders.
Second Intermission Notes: The chances have been plentiful, but the scoring still absent so far in this one as it remains 0-0 after two periods here at the Garden.
It's been a chippy affair, with Krys Barch's hit on Daniel Paille, who won't return to this one, leading to a bout with Shawn Thornton in the first and Johnny Boychuk's crushing hit at center ice on Mike Santorelli leading to a real slugfest with Jack Skille in the second.
Tyler Seguin may still be in need of a wake-up call, as he's been pretty quiet in this one. he has two shots and a giveaway in 11:21. No the inspired response to his benching the Bruins were hoping for, but he's still got one more period to get something going.
Nathan Horton continues to play well against his old club with four shots and three hits so far. Rich Peverley leads Boston with five shots. The Bruins are up 26-20 overall in that category, but both Tim Thomas and Jose Theodore have been perfect so far. Theodore has had some help, with the Bruins hitting four posts so far, including one by Joe Corvo in the second.
Marco Sturm also very quiet in his return to Boston. He has no shots and one takeaway in 9:06 so far.
End Second Period, 0-0: Another is in the books, and it still remains scoreless as Tim Thomas and Jose Theodore continue to shine in this one.
Second Period, 18:56, 0-0: Thomas gets a little help from Adam McQuaid with a block in front on a rebound from the right slot.
Second Period, 14:30, 0-0: The gloves come off again, this time after Johnny Boychuk lays out Mike Santorelli at center ice. Jack Skille takes exception and starts tossing punches with Boychuk. Skille got a good start, but Boychuk took over late and landed some serious bombs in a very spirited scrap.
Second Period, 12:27, 0-0: The Bruins had a much better effort on that power play, but the results remain the same. Joe Corvo had another shot off a post, while Marchand had a backhand off the inside of Theodore's arm. It went behind him, but stayed out of the net.
Second Period, 10:27, 0-0: The Bruins will get another shot on the power play as Barch goes back in the box. this time it's for holding.
Second Period, 8:29, 0-0: The Bruins fail again to convert on the power play. They are now 0 for 3 on the man advantage in this one.
Second Period, 6:29, 0-0: The Bruins get another power-play chance as Brian Campbell is sent off for delay of game after clearing the puck over the glass.
Second Period, 4:51, 0-0: Strong penalty kill for the Bruins, who created the better chances shorthanded with a nifty rush by Rich Peverley and a steal by Chris Kelly.
Second Period, 2:51, 0-0: The Bruins are shorthanded for the first time in this one as Brad Marchand is called for elbowing Tim Kennedy as he tried to slide around him in the corner.
Second Period, 1:00, 0-0: The Bruins have announced that Daniel Paille will not return to this game. No specifics on the injury were revealed. He was hurt on a hit by Krys Barch early in the first.
Second Period, 0:00, 0-0: The middle frame is under way here at the Garden, with the Bruins and Panthers both still looking for than all-important first goal.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins came out flying, but couldn't cash in on their early momentum and remain in a scoreless stalemate with the Panthers after one period.
The Bruins had a 12-8 edge in shots, but it could have been even greater than that. The Bruins also had six shots blocked and seven miss for 25 total shot attempts to just 11 for Florida. The Panthers are paying the price, with six blocked shots to just one for Boston. The Bruins have come close to breaking this one open, with Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron all clanging shots off teh post.
Nathan Horton has come to play against his old club. he leads the Bruins with three shots and two hits in 6:18 of ice time. Daniel Paille did not return after being run into the boards by Krys Barch early in the period. Shawn Thornton pounded out a decision in the fight with Barch that ensued, but losing Paille will be a big loss for the Bruins, especially on the penalty kill.
End First Period, 0-0: The first 20 minutes are in the books and it remains scoreless. The Bruins dominated early, but culd not cash in. The Panthers then had some chances late, including a bit from the left slot by former Bruins prospect Kris Versteeg with 19 seconds left.
First Period, 18:14, 0-0: The Panthers get caught with two players without sticks, but are able to ice the puck to relieve the pressure.
First Period, 16:08, 0-0: The Panthers with their first serious threat as Tim Kennedy has a chance in front but cant' put it home.
First Period, 15:01, 0-0: The Bruins mixing and matching their lines now with Paille still out. Lucic took the last shift with Campbell and Thornton.
First Period, 11:31, 0-0: The Bruins come up empty again on the power play despite creating more solid scoring chances. Boston is dominating everywhere but the scoreboard, but failing to convert these chances could come back to haunt the Bruins.
First Period, 9:31, 0-0: The Bruins get another power-play chance as Mike Santorelli is sent off for tripping. that came after another post, this time by Bergeron.
First Period, 9:05, 0-0: The Bruins continue to pressure the Panthers. They're up 7-1 in shots and Dennis Seidenberg adds another off the post, but it remains scoreless. Daniel Paille has not returned to the bench since being hit by Barch.
First Period, 4:17, 0-0: The Bruins can't convert that power-play chance. Boston has a 5-0 edge in shots but it remains scoreless at the Garden.
First Period, 2:17, 0-0: The gloves come off with Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch renewing acquaintances.
Barch ran Paille and Greg Campbell actually had his gloves off first to fight him, but Thornton jumped in and took the bout, then the decision in the scrap. Barch gets teh extra two for charging to put the Bruins on the power play. No penalty for Campbell.
First Period, 1:40, 0-0: The Bruins fourth line with a string of chances, including a deflection off the crossbar but the puck stays out.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: This one is under way here at the Garden, The Bruins will open with the top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, with Dennis Seidenberg and Joe Corvo on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
Florida counters with Sean bergenheim, Shawn Matthias and Tomas Kopecky up front, Brian Campbell and Jason Garrison on the blue line and Jose Theodore in net.
7 p.m.: The Bruins have officially scratched Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer, so Tyler Seguin does return to the lineup as expected.
Florida has scratched Keaton Ellerby, Mark Cullen and Evgeni Dadonov.
6:45 p.m.: Tyler Seguin was on the ice for warm-ups and back in his customary spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for the line rushes. Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer skated in warm-ups as well, but did not take part in the line rushes.
Looks like the Bruins will go back to their usual lineup with Seguin having served his penance for missing Tuesday's team breakfast and meeting.
Here are the line combinations from warm-ups:
6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Jose Theodore lead the teams out for warm-ups.
That will be the goalie matchup for this one.
6 p.m.: The Bruins will look to begin a new win streak in about an hour, but it won't be easy against a much-improved Panthers squad that is currently atop the Southeast Division and just one point behind Boston for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tyler Seguin will return for the Bruins after sitting out Tuesday's loss in Winnipeg as punishment for missing the team breakfast and a meeting that morning.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins suffered a regulation loss for the first time in 16 games Tuesday with a 2-1 setback in Winnipeg.
On Thursday, they return home looking to begin a new win streak. It won't be easy though, as the opposition at the Garden will be the surprising Florida Panthers.
Florida, which last made the playoffs in 2000, underwent a radical overhaul of its roster and brought in Kevin Dineen as coach this summer, and the changes have paid immediate dividends with the Panthers currently leading the Southeast Division and sitting third in the Eastern Conference at 15-8-4. They've won two straight and are 6-2-1 in their last nine games.
The Bruins are second in the East and first in the Northeast at 17-8-1 thanks to a 14-1-1 stretch since the start of November. They can take over the top spot in the conference with a win and a Pittsburgh loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.
Beating the Panthers has become routine for the Bruins in recent years. They've won the last four meetings and are 7-1-1 in the last nine games between the clubs, which will be united in the same conference next season under the realignment plan approved this week by the NHL's board of governors.
Tim Thomas, who is likely to start after getting Tuesday off, is 5-0-1 with an 0.97 GAA in his last six starts against Florida. He's also riding a career-best 10-game win streak with a 1.69 GAA in that span.
Bruins leading scorer Tyler Seguin also got Tuesday off, but not by choice. He was scratched after missing the team breakfast and a team meeting, but should return to the lineup in this one. How he responds to the disciplinary move will be one of the key things to watch in this one.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action from the Garden.