Final, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins complete the Florida sweep with a convincing 4-1 win over the Panthers in Sunrise.
In the process, the B’s improve to 11-2-2 on the season, with plenty of games in hand on the rest of the conference. It probably goes without saying that they’re in a pretty good position right now.
Claude Julien told Naoko Funayama that the Bruins did a good job of sticking with the gameplan. The head coach said they made some adjustments after the first period, and that was pretty evident actually. The Bruins looked much better after the sloppy end to the first period, and they were able to dictate the game in a more efficient way in the second and third periods.
Julien also expressed some happiness in how the offense continued to improve. Boston has now scored 14 goals in its last three games, and the power play looks to be coming around some as well.
Those are all good signs for a Bruins team that is about to enter the toughest part of the schedule.
Third period, 18:23, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins’ penalty kill was killing a 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled, and Daniel Paille is able to score the shorthanded equalizer.
Paille poked the puck to himself out of the Boston zone, and he used his speed to get by everyone else for the easy shorthanded, empty-net goal.
Third period, 16:36, Bruins 3-1: Zdeno Chara just tried to clear out the front of the crease in front of Tuukka Rask, and he was able to do so by shoving Tomas Kopecky to the ice.
However, the Boston captain gets called for interference in the process, and the Bruins are left to kill off yet another penalty.
Third period, 16:00, Bruins 3-1: Not much going on, with the Bruins getting ready to withstand what we expect will be one last rush from the Panthers.
However, they’ve yet to really set it up, and the Bruins almost added another one as a result of some passiveness in the neutral zone by the Panthers. Rich Peverley tried to set up Gregory Campbell on a 2-on-1 into the Florida zone, but the play was broken up and Jacob Markstrom was able to cover it up.
Third period, 13:59, Bruins 3-1: Milan Lucic has had ample time to think about what he’s done and pay his debt to society, and he’s returned to the game after serving his 14 minutes of a penalty time.
Third period, 9:53, Bruins 3-1: The Panthers just had their best scoring chance in a long time, but Tuukka Rask saved his best save for the third period.
The play started when a Bruins shot went wide and sent Tomas Kopecky up the right wing through the neutral zone and into the Boston zone. The Panthers were able to cycle the puck around, and that eventually led to a chance for Marcel Goc in front, but Rask made a gorgeous glove save on a Goc backhanded attempt.
Rask froze the puck to end the play, after which Goc skated behind the net and looked skyward as to wonder how Rask was able to make the save.
Third period, 7:02, Bruins 3-1: This has been a very workmanlike third period from the Bruins, and that started with another successful penalty kill.
From there, though, they continued to play their defensive brand of hockey which has been predicated on more solid decision making with and without the puck.
One player who has embodied that in this one has been Chris Kelly. He finally got on the scoreboard with his first goal of the season — a power-play tally at that — but he’s done so much more so far. He’s made a couple of heady plays in the neutral zone, including one play in the second where he stopped on a dime, changed directions and broke up a pass through the neutral zone on the backcheck. Just an all-around strong, professional day from Kelly.
Third period, 2:00, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty, and they have now killed off 20 consecutive penalties.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 3-1: The third period is under way, and Boston still has 1:42 of the Milan Lucic double-minor to kill.
Second period reaction: In my opinion, that was a much better period for the Bruins. They looked much stronger with the puck and their breakouts out of their own zone were much better. All in all, it was much more solid — more Bruins-like, if you will.
The Milan Lucic penalty was well-deserved, but there probably should have been a call on Mike Weaver as well. Lucic was in a vulnerable position up against the boards, and Weaver just cross-checked him from behind into the boards. Seems like a textbook call, no?
Anyway, you can’t really blame Lucic for taking the double-minor after what he perceived to be a dirty hit. However, you’d probably like to avoid the whole 10-minute misconduct thing, which means Boston will be without one of its best players for a good chunk of the third.
The Bruins will also have to kill off the rest of that double-minor penalty to open the third. The Panthers are going to want to come out with a big jump in the third, and maybe they will get that after the big save by Jacob Markstrom in the second period’s final seconds.
End second period, Bruins 3-1: Rich Peverley had a brilliant opportunity to put it away with a shorthanded goal, but Jacob Markstrom came up with his biggest save of the game thus far.
Peverley got in behind the defense and had a legitimate breakaway all by himself, but Makrstrom made one heck of a save to keep it 3-1. That could be a huge moment if the Panthers are able to come back and make a game of this.
Second period, 19:15, Bruins 3-1: Go ahead and add a 10-minute misconduct to the Milan Lucic penalty situation, as he picked that up for, presumably, squawking a bit too much from the penalty box.
Second period, 17:42, Bruins 3-1: Milan Lucic took what was at least a questionable hit from Mike Weaver, and the Bruins forward did not seem to appreciate it one bit.
He got up following the hit and responded in kind — with a cross-check and then a couple of rabbit punches after the whistle — and it costs the Bruins.
Lucic gets sent to the box for four minutes, which puts the Boston penalty kill in a tricky situation with a few minutes to play in the second.
Second period, 14:54, Bruins 3-1: You get the sense that the Bruins feel they have the chance the put this one away. They almost did just that a couple of shifts ago.
Tyler Seguin started the shift by streaking into the zone with some incredible speed before hitting the post with a wrist shot from the right wing. That set up what was a relentless shift from that line, as they took advantage of a Panthers team that desperately needed a line change. However, Jacob Markstrom made a couple of big saves (and got some help from the iron) to make sure this one stays at 3-1.
Second period, 10:35, Bruins 3-1: This has been a much better second period in terms of puck control, puck movement and decision making for the Bruins.
They have done a better job of being patient with the puck (aside from the first 90 seconds of the power play), and they are making better decisions moving the puck out of their own zone. We just saw a good example of that as Zdeno Chara was able to settle the puck behind his net and slow the play down before connecting with Patrice Bergeron on a long pass to begin the play. Bergeron was able to move the puck to Tyler Seguin who carried it in with a burst of speed. The play was eventually broken up, but it was just a good example of how the B’s have done a better job of breaking out of their own zone here in the second period.
Second period, 6:16, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins are keeping the pressure on following the goal, which is encouraging given how they ended the first period after taking the two-goal lead.
Mike Weaver just absolutely unloaded on Brad Marchand, though, with a monster open-ice hit in the neutral zone. The Boston forward got up and skated it off, and he seems just fine.
Second period, 2:30, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins’ power play was miserable for a good 90 seconds, and just like that, they were able to break through.
Daniel Paille stepped into the attacking zone and tried to take a slap shot from just inside the blue line, but a good back-check broke up the shot. However, the Boston forward was able to get just enough on the puck, and the change-up effect of the broken-up play through the Florida defense off a bit. That allowed Chris Kelly to sneak in behind the Panthers’ defense and easily jam the puck home for the goal.
(Somewhat) interestingly, that is the first power-play point of Daniel Paille’s career.
Second period, 0:38, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins come out with plenty of jump, and it pays off quickly.
Brian Campbell is called for tripping Patrice Bergeron, although it looked like Bergeron may have went down because he stepped on the puck and fell. Anyway, the Bruins will take it, as their power play has shown signs of improvement as of late.
Second period, 0:01, Bruins 2-1: The second play is underway, with the Bruins holding the 2-1 lead.
First period reaction: There were some things to like if you’re a Bruins fan in the first period, and there were some things that weren’t so pretty.
First, the good. The Bruins were rewarded early in the first with the Milan Lucic goal after a handful of strong shifts to open the game. Of course, the Zdeno Chara goal was an absolute thing of beauty. The big fella showed off some moves that someone his size shouldn’t possess as he spun and stickhandled his way to the net for the backhanded goal.
It was all downhill from there, though, as the Bruins started to get sloppy all over the ice. They’ve had some issues with their puck movement, which is something that Claude Julien has said he would like to see improve. That was no more apparent than it was on the Tomas Kopecky goal where Boston had all sorts of problems in its own end. The puck movement was sloppy, and the attempts to clear the zone were uninspired. Andrew Ference looked particularly rough trying to clear up the front of the net, failing to clear the puck or Kopecky leading to the goal.
Things didn’t get much better from there, with poor decision making and puck movement hurting the B’s the rest of the period.
However, they come away with the lead, which has led to plenty of success this season, and the Bruins will look to continue that trend in Florida in this one.
End first period, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins were able to kill off the Chris Kelly tripping penalty, and in the process, they’re able to kill their 18th consecutive penalty.
Things got a little hairy in the Boston end again late in the period after Tuukka Rask had some adventures with the puck as he goes out of his net to play the puck. Nonetheless, nothing comes of it and Boston takes the 2-1 lead into the room.
More in just a few.
First period, 16:04, Bruins 2-1: The poor play in the Bruins’ end is compounded by a penalty.
Chris Kelly gets called for tripping, and the Bruins have to find a way to kill the penalty and keep the one-goal lead.
First period, 15:38, Bruins 2-1: It didn’t take long for the Panthers to respond to the second Boston goal, as Florida just got one back late in the period.
Tomas Kopecky is able to get the ugly goal in front, picking up the garbage and finding a way to get it into the back of the net. That was thanks in part to some poor play in front of their own net by the Bruins, including Andrew Ference, who couldn’t clear the puck and couldn’t slow Kopecky.
First period, 13:52, Bruins 2-0: That sound you just heard was jaws dropping across the region.
That’s because Zdeno Chara, of all people, just scored arguably the prettiest goal of the season for the Bruins.
The goal was set up by wonderful patience from Brad Marchand, who held the puck on the halfwall. Chara, coming from the bench, entered the play at the point and Marchand dished a backhanded pass to Chara.
The big defenseman then used a spin move around a defender, walked in all alone on Jacob Markstrom and beat the goalie with a backhanded shot up over the Marksrom’s left shoulder.
First period, 12:29, Bruins 1-0: Tyler Seguin has yet to truly find his goal-scoring touch, but he continues to do the little things that don’t necessarily show up on the back of your hockey card.
Seguin just made a headsy play to ensure the Bruins kept the lead, as the young forward was able to collect the puck as it was just about to roll past the goal line in the Bruins’ end. The puck was tipped in front and it looked destined to be the first Florida goal of the afternoon, but Seguin made the terrific play.
First period, 7:57, Bruins 1-0: Milan Lucic had one of his best games of the season Thursday, despite not showing up on the score sheet. He wasted no time getting on the board in this one, though.
Lucic gets the game first goal after beating Jacob Markstrom with a wrist shot from the top of the slot after David Krejci won the offensize zone faceoff cleanly.
That was about as basic as it gets.
First period, 7:00, 0-0: Like Thursday night in Tampa Bay, we’ve seen a lot of action in the early going in this one. Unlike that game against the Lightning, though, the Bruins have nothing to show for it against the Panthers.
Boston came out with pretty good jump, including a terrific shift from the fourth line that led to a Gregory Campbell one-timer in the slot. That was followed up a few moments later by another fantastic shift from the first line, which has become more and more frequent as of late.
However, the Panthers haven’t been short on chances themselves, either. They almost had a dandy of a chance after Zdeno Chara was lazy with the puck in the corner and made an uncharacteristic turnover. However, Patrice Bergeron was there to save the day with some insane hustle to come back from the blue line and break the play up in front of the Boston net.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: The Bruins and Panthers are underway in Sunrise, as the Bruins look to finish a sweep of Florida.
2:35 p.m.: Tuukka Rask leads the Bruins out of the tunnel, and he’ll get the start in this one. On the other end of the ice, it’ s Jacob Markstrom, who will apparently get his second straight stat .
Markstrom started Friday against the Penguins and took the loss. It was hardly his fault alone, though, as Markstrom was peppered with 40 shots. He stopped 37 of them in the losing effort.
2 p.m.: With an hour until this one gets going, let’s take a look back at least year’s season series.
The two clubs, winners of their respective divisions, split their four meetings in 2011-12. The home team won each, and there were some pretty lopsided scores. The Bruins whitewashed Florida just a couple of days before Christmas with an 8-0 win at TD Garden, and the Panthers would eventually return the favor with a 6-2 win over the B’s on March 15.
The Panthers will once again be without Kris Versteeg, who remains out with a chest injury. The same goes for Ed Jovanoski and Scottie Upshall, who are out with knee and ankle injuries, respectively.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins have gotten some much needed rest and relaxation in the last few days, and they did so under the comfort of the Florida sun. However, it’s back to business on Sunday afternoon in Sunrise, Fla.
The B’s will finish up their two-game swing through Florida with a showdown against the Panthers. The Bruins will look to add to the Panthers’ ongoing misery, as the defending Southeast Division champs have stumbled out of the gate this season.
Many of the Panthers’ issues come back to problems in their own end. Only Philadelphia (62) has given up more goals than Florida (61) so far this season. It’s been Jose Theodore who once upon a time won a Hart Trophy that has seen the bulk of the starts for the Panthers. He’s been pretty awful, with a 3.37 goals against to go along with an .893 save percentage. Then again, the defense in front of Theodore and the rest of the goaltending contingency hasn’t been anything special, either, with the Panthers allowing 31 shots per game.
One of the few positives this season has been the play of Jonathan Huberdeau. The rookie, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft, leads the team in points. He has 8-5-13 totals through the first 17 games of his NHL career, and he’s two games removed from notching two goals and two assists in a win over the Flyers.
The Bruins, of course, are heading in the opposite direction. Boston was very impressive offensively on Thursday night against Tampa Bay, scoring four goals en route to a 4-2 win. Nathan Horton was very impressive, and the B’s will hope he can stay rolling when he hits the ice against his former team.
Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the BB&T Center.