Bruins-Panthers Live: B’s Hold On Despite Sloppy Play at Times, Beat Florida 4-1

Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic

Final, Bruins 4-1: That’s it and that’s all. The Bruins hang on to win 4-1.

Third period, 19:03, Bruins 4-1: Patrice Bergeron adds the empty-netter, and this one is over.

The Bruins are gonna get back on the winning track.

Third period, 17:26, Bruins 3-1: The first line really is snake bit right now.

It looked like Nathan Horton was about to score on the power play, and he did score actually, but the goal was waved off. The reason? Milan Lucic made contact with goalie Scott Clemmensen, so the goal is wiped out.

Third period, 15:24, Bruins 3-1: This building has found a little bit of life after the Shawn Thornton goal.

The fourth line has turned it on in a big way recently, but while they’re trending up, the first line continues to trend down. This has been a better effort out of the David Krejci line, but the results still aren’t there. You would have to think frustration will start setting in soon.

The B’s get a chance to add to the lead as well. Florida was just called for too many men on the ice.

Third period, 12:44, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins needed a jump, and once again, the fourth line was there to provide it.

Shawn Thornton gets his third goal of the season after a relentless effort. Thornton put the puck through Scott Clemmensen’s legs from a weird angle, and the puck went through the crease. However, Thornton finished skating, going behind the net and jamming home his own rebound.

That’s a big one for a team that has looked flat since the first period.

Third period, 11:12, Bruins 2-1: NESN play-by-play man Jack Edwards just tweeted that the Bruins look “disjointed” right now, which is so incredibly true.

The Bruins don’t look like a team desperate to prove they can hold leads in the third, rather they look like a team that just wants to get this over with.

They have just two shots here in the third period through 11 minutes, and that’s after they had 16 in the first period.

Third period, 6:30, Bruins 2-1: So far, the third period has been kind of a whole lot of nothing.

Each team has just one shot on goal through six and a half minutes, and scoring chances have been at a minimum.

The Bruins’ first line came close a few moments ago when Nathan Horton started a break down the right wing before putting a pass in front for Milan Lucic in the slot, but Lucic couldn’t control the puck as it hit him in the skates.  

Third period, 1:00, Bruins 2-1: The third period is under way.

Second period reaction: We’ll keep it short and sweet this time around.

Simply put, the Bruins need to be better in the third than they were in the second. The Panthers now believe they have a chance in this game, which is a dangerous proposition when you’re playing a team like this.

The third-period issues for Boston have been well-documented, and they don’t want to have to answer questions about that again. I expect they’ll come out flying in the third. They’re certainly the more talented team, and now they need to prove it for the next 20 minutes.

End second period, Bruins 2-1: The second period comes to an end with another scoring chance for the Panthers.

Drew Shore walked around just about each Bruin on the ice before getting into the slot, but he was turned away once again by Tuukka Rask just before the horn.

Second period, 18:00, Bruins 2-1: Boston is able to kill off the penalty, without much issue.

Drew Shore got the only shot of the power play for Florida, a whirling backhander in the slot that Tuukka Rask kicked aside with a pad save.

Second period, 15:48, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins killed off the Nathan Horton penalty, which was nice. But then on the ensuing shift and line change, they got sloppy — real sloppy.

Milan Lucic was still five or six strides from the Bruins bench when his replacement hopped over the boards, giving the B’s a pretty noticeable six men on the ice. That’s illegal, of course, and they get the too many men on the ice penalty.

Second period, 12:28, Bruins 2-1: It’s starting to get a little more dangerous for the Bruins.

Nathan Horton was just called for high-sticking, and the Bruins will have to kill off their first penalty of the night.

Second period, 12:00, Bruins 2-1: I’m gonna go ahead and give the Panthers some credit. With the way the first period finished, they could have just packed it in.

Then, with the questionable penalty call just a few minutes into the period, they could have just gone away then, too.

Yet the Panthers scored that shorthanded goal, and they’re right back in this game. They aren’t dominating or anything right now, but they’re hanging with the B’s.

Second period, 3:10, Bruins 2-1: The Panthers may have had a grief on the interference call, but the hockey gods may have just evened it up.

Shawn Matthias may or may not have tripped up Dougie Hamilton as the B’s defenseman chased down a puck that went flying out of the Bruins zone, but give Matthias credit. He took full advantage of it when he got to the puck, and he beat Tuukka Rask for the shorthanded goal.

That is the first shorty the Bruins have allowed this season.

Second period, 1:38, Bruins 2-0: The second period is under way, and the Bruins are on the power play.

Erik Grubandson just got called for interference on a big  hit on Jay Pandolfo, and the B’s get a chance to add to their lead.

First period reaction: The Bruins look like they might be a team on a mission for this one.

They know that they’re playing the worst team in hockey, and through 20 minutes, they’re leaving no doubt about that. The B’s dominated much of the first period, and they have a 2-0 lead to show for it.

It wasn’t exactly pretty early on, but the Bruins found their legs, and they cashed in early with the Zdeno Chara goal. That goal was started by Milan Lucic’s forechecking and Nathan Horton controlling the puck. David Krejci then shot wide (showing a more aggressive nature with the puck on his stick) before Chara came down and blasted home the carom.

The first line has looked much improved. Claude Julien wanted them to forecheck more. They’ve done that. He wanted to see them move better north to south. They’ve done that as well. He called on them to shoot more. They’ve also done that. It’s a talented line, but at times, you have to question the consistency. If they have more periods like the first, there aren’t gonna be many teams who will be able to hang with them.

One note: the Panthers are 1-12-3 this season when trailing after the first. So that’s kind of good news if you’re a Bruins fan. If you’re a Panthers fans, it’s probably time to go find something else to do for the rest of the night.

End first period, Bruins 2-0: While it can’t be understated how awesome it must be to play the Florida Panthers these days, Claude Julien has to be pretty happy with how his team played in the first period.

The Bruins take the 2-0 lead to the dressing room, also holding a 16-11 advantage in shots on goal.

First period, 14:56, Bruins 2-0: Once again, it’s another gorgeous goal from the Bruins’ second line, with a little help from the defensemen as well.

Patrice Bergeron scores the goal, but it wasn’t until the other four Boston skaters touched the puck.

Eventually it was Tyler Seguin passing the puck to Brad Marchand through the neutral zone, and then the winger passed it across the slot to Bergeron, and he put it home. It was picture-perfect team hockey, especially the end of it. It was a gorgeous pass from Marchand, and Bergeron drove the net with his stick on the ice the whole time before putting it by Scott Clemmensen.

First period, 10:11, Bruins 1-0: Tuukka Rask has been sensational in the early going with a handful of gorgeous saves so far. The Panthers are outshooting the Bruins now 10-7, and Rask has been up to the task so far.

The Bruins’ first line almost got on the board on their last rush, as Milan Lucic tossed a backhanded pass into the slot for David Krejci who quickly one-timed it, but Scott Clemmensen made the pretty glove save.

First period, 7:47, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins are feeling it right now, and they don’t show any signs of letting up any time soon.

The B’s are all over the Panthers right now, almost as if they can smell blood, even this early in the game.

Tuukka Rask was just tested in a big way, however, as Calder Trophy candidate Jonathan Huberdeau (12 goals this season) walked in on Rask. However, the Bruins goalie made a gorgeous glove save to preserve the early lead.

First period, 3:55, Bruins 1-0: So you want the first line to shoot more? Good idea.

Zdeno Chara just scored the Bruins’ first goal, but it was a play that was started by a bad Panthers defensive play as well as David Krejci’s decision to shoot the puck.

The Panthers made a poor D-to-D pass, and Nathan Horton grabbed the puck and shoveled it to Krejci. The center shot it toward the net, but missed wide. However, the carom rolled up the boards to Chara. He blasted one from the point by Scott Clemmensen for the early lead.

First period, 0:05, 0-0: The game is under way, with the Bruins looking to get back on the winning track.

6:51 p.m.: Let’s take a quick look through the game notes, shall we?

We already touched on Tuukka Rask’s domination of the Florida Panthers, but it’s worth noting that it hasn’t always been a slam dunk for the Bruins against Panthers, especially at home. While the B’s own a 34-28-6-4 record all time against Florida, the Bruins are only 14-15-4-3 at home against the Panthers. The Panthers are only one of two teams to have a winning record in Boston. The other? Minnesota, of course.

The Bruins lost in regulation on Tuesday night, which as history suggests, means they may be in for some success in this one. The B’s haven’t lost consecutive games in regulation since last March 10-15 when they lost four in a row.

The Bruins are 10-3-1 this season when there’s a fight.

6:36 p.m.: It makes sense that Tuukka Rask would get the start, as he has dominated the Panthers in his career.

Rask has made six career appearance against Florida, and he has given up very, very little. Rask is 5-1-0 in his career against the Kitty Cats, with a 0.98 goals against, .969 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.

6:29 p.m.: The Bruins were led out by Tuukka Rask for pregame skate, meaning he’ll be the starting goaltender.

Scott Clemmensen gets the nod for Florida.

6:13 p.m.: Good evening and welcome to TD Garden where the Bruins are about an hour from tangling with the Florida Panthers.

Claude Julien spoke after the morning skate about what he’d like to see out of the first line moving forward, especially Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic who have been sputtering as of late.

“Well, I think they’ve got to go back to their north-south game,” Julien said. “I don’t think there’s a single team in the league that likes to see [Milan] Lucic forechecking or going after a loose puck. Same thing with Nathan Horton. When he’s on his game, he’s committed to it, he’s another real physical player that can forecheck and put players on their heels. Those guys are better served when they play that way, and what that does it eventually backs guys off. When they back guys off then they’re capable of making plays like they had been just inside the blue line. Right now, it doesn’t seem to be the intention of putting pucks in areas where those guys can use that to their advantage. They’re forcing plays a little too much in the neutral zone, which ends up being turnovers and not utilizing their strengths to their advantage.”

3:45 p.m.: Bruins coach Claude Julien, like everyone else, weighed in on the Wes Welker situation. He had this to say at morning skate.

“Better left with no comments because, honestly, you lose a good player, but we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors with the organization. They must have had a reason to do it. I’m certainly not going to criticize the organization, but I liked him as a player.”

3:40 p.m.: The other news of the afternoon is that the Bruins may soon be getting reinforcements up front.

Carl Soderberg, who is property of Bruins and expressed the desire to join the B’s once his season in Sweden ended, has been suspended. He was suspended four games in the Swedish Elite League, which could speed up his potential exile to Boston, as he’s the team’s best player and the league’s leading scorer.

Read more about that and check out video of the hit by clicking here.

3 p.m.: Adam McQuaid will not play in this one, as he did not participate in morning skate, and Claude Julien confirmed the defenseman would be out following the skate.

“Day-to-day,” Julien said after the skate. “Just a minor injury, he’s not going to play tonight. But, should be, hopefully, good to go from tomorrow on.”

It’s still unclear who the Bruins will start in goal, however.

On the other side of the ice, there was more bad news for the injury-riddled Panthers. The club announced Thursday that veteran forward Kris Versteeg will need to undergo season-ending knee surgery.

10:35 a.m.: Peter Chiarelli announced that the B’s have signed forward Anthony Camara to an entry-level contract.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Toronto native has 36 goals and 24 assists in 48 games this year with the Barrie Colts (OHL).

In 243 OHL games, he’s racked up 66 goals, 56 assists and 443 penalty minutes. As a member of Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Russia, he recorded two assists and a plus-1 rating in six games. You may also remember him as the beast that delivered this huge hit during the tourney (video).

He was drafted in the third round (No. 81 overall) by the Black and Gold in the 2011 NHL entry draft. — JB

8 a.m. ET: The Bruins were just a few minutes from finishing off what would have been a very impressive two-game road trip to start their busiest week of the season. That apparently wasn’t in the cards, however, as Boston coughed up a two-goal lead late Monday in Pittsburgh as the Penguins stormed back to win 3-2.

The B’s return home Thursday night to continue their stretch of five games in seven days by welcoming the Florida Panthers to town. On paper, it seems like the perfect chance for the Bruins to get back on the winning track. The Panthers come in with the NHL’s worst record, and they don’t really show signs of improving. Florida comes in having lost two in a row, and they are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games. They have been ravaged by injuries, and the B’s would absolutely love to add to the Panthers’ misery.

Boston won the first matchup of the season between these two when they rolled over the Panthers 4-1 on Feb. 24. The Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 lead through two periods, and they were actually able to keep that lead. Holding third-period leads has been a bit of an issue since then, as evidenced by Tuesday’s loss to the Penguins.

Puck drop from the Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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