Bruins-Panthers Live: B’s Bounce Back, Roll to 4-1 Win Over Hapless Panthers

Panthers-BruinsFinal, Bruins 4-1: That’s it and that’s all. The Bruins end the skid in a big way with the three-goal win.

Third period, 18:13, Bruins 4-1: Nothing will cure what ails you like the Florida Panthers.

Florida just committed a costly turnover, like, a really bad one, and Reilly Smith made the Cats pay. He just took the puck in the middle of the slot and ripped it by Scott Clemmensen for the fourth Bruins goal.

Third period, 14:25, Bruins 3-1: It’s been an adventurous night for Jesse Winchester, who just scored his fourth goal of the season and ruined Tuukka Rask’s shutout in the process.

Nick Bjugstad put a shot on goal that Rask got with his shoulder, but the goalie was flopping around a bit, and that allowed Winchester to bat home a juicy rebound.

Third period, 13:21, Bruins 3-0: Without much issue, the Bruins were able to kill off their fourth penalty of the night, and they now have killed off 15 straight.

In the moments following the penalty expiring, the B’s had a chance to push the lead to four, but Jarome Iginla missed the net with a wrist shot from the top of the slot.

Third period, 10:39, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins are going to have to kill off another penalty.

Brad Marchand’s eventful night continues with a slashing penalty.

During the ensuing TV timeout, Tim Thomas was honored with a video tribute during his first visit back to Boston after his time with the B’s came to an abrupt end last year.

Third period, 8:57, Bruins 3-0: Torey Krug is making a push for the Bruins’ lead in goals scored.

The defenseman just ripped home his sixth goal of the year, and the Bruins now lead 3-0. Chris Kelly made a great pass through the slot to Krug who had jumped into the play before unloading a wicked wrist shot to push the lead to 3-0.

Third period, 7:30, Bruins 2-0: It would appear that Tim Thomas is now in the building and on press level, which means if the Bruins are going to honor him with some sort of video tribute, it could come here in the third.

Third period, 4:09, Bruins 2-0: Brad Marchand has been playing better as of late, and he finally just broke through on the scoresheet.

Dennis Seidenberg put a shot on goal from the left point that ended up getting through Scott Clemmensen. Marchand did a nice job of getting to the net, and he was right to Clemmensen’s left when the puck squirted through the goalie’s legs, and Marchand easily slid it home.

Third period, 0:01, Bruins 1-0: The third period is underway here at TD Garden.

End second period, Bruins 1-0: That’s the end of the second period. It still wasn’t the best period the Bruins have ever played, but they were able to get a goal and take the lead. So that’s something.

The Bruins are still being outshot 17-16 through two periods, though.

Second period, 18:21, Bruins 1-0: The Panthers have kind of disappeared here in the second period, but they did just come back for a quick moment to get their best look of the period.

Jonathan Huberdeau tried a wraparound, but Tuukka Rask did a terrific job of going post to post to make the save. He followed that up with another save on a shot in traffic before finally covering the puck in a crowd of people.

Second period, 13:49, Bruins 1-0: Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch are rather familiar with each other and rather familiar with each other’s fists.

They just got reacquainted once again, the seventh time they’ve locked horns over the course of their careers. That was a good one with a lot of heavy punches being thrown.

Second period, 12:45, Bruins 1-0: The chances continue for the Bruins, this time it’s the second line who generates the scoring opportunity. 

The Bruins weren’t able to get the shot on net, but Brad Marchand did a nice job of slowing the play when needed in the Boston zone before finding Dougie Hamilton who was coming off the Bruins bench. It was something relatively small in the grand scheme of things, but it was a confident move for Marchand. He’s said himself that he’s lacking confidence right now, so any sign of the contrary is good news for the Bruins at this point.

Second period, 7:17, Bruins 1-0: Finally, the Bruins break through.

Claude Julien stuck with his first line, and he was rewarded. David Krejci eventually worked his way up to the left point at the blue line where he hammered home a one-timer from Zdeno Chara. The Boston center did a great job of keeping the puck low and it just cleanly beat Scott Clemmensen.

Second period, 6:45, 0-0: The Bruins just had their best chance of the period.

David Krejci won an offensive zone faceoff to Milan Lucic, who put it on net. Scott Clemmensen made the glove save, but the puck popped straight up in the air. It came down on top of the net.

Second period, 5:00, 0-0: The Bruins power play just came to an end with no goals to show for the B’s.

They did get a couple of shots on goal and now lead 10-9 in shots.

Second period, 2:29, 0-0: Just as the power play ended, Scottie Upshall was called for tripping. The Bruins get their first power play of the game.

Second period, 2:29, 0-0: The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty to Patrice Bergeron with very little resistance from the Panthers, whose power play stinks.

Second period, 0:29, 0-0: That didn’t take long. Patrice Bergeron was just called for hooking, and Florida gets its third power play of the evening.

Second period, 0:01, 0-0: The second period is underway.

End first period, 0-0: The first period just came to an end, 33 seconds after the Bruins killed off Carl Soderberg’s high sticking penalty.

So if you’re looking for positives, the Bruins have now killed off 13 straight penalties.

The Panthers outshot the Bruins 8-7 in the first. If you missed the first period, you certainly did not miss much.

First period, 17:27, 0-0: The Bruins killed the penalty to Dougie Hamilton, but 1:19 later, Carl Soderberg was called for high sticking. So it’s back to the penalty kill for the B’s.

First period, 14:08, 0-0: And any momentum the Bruins had built up may be on its way out  now, for at least two minutes.

Dougie Hamilton was just called for hooking, and the Panthers will get the game’s first power play.

The Bruins have killed off 11 straight penalties entering tonight.

First period, 12:52, 0-0: The Bruins are finally starting to get some chances here midway through the third period, and they just had their best chance by far of the evening.

Reilly Smith, who was toward the end of a shift and about to go off for a line change, was the beneficiary of a loose puck that trickled out of the Boston zone. A pass went ahead to Smith who was off the races.

He walked in all alone on Scott Clemmensen, and the Florida goalie made the save and got defensive help before Smith could get to the rebound.

Boston followed that up with a good shift from the second line, a line that really needs to get going here if the B’s are going to break out of this slump.

First period, 6:54, 0-0: The Bruins aren’t off to a very inspiring start in front of a pretty lackluster crowd.

It took more than 4 minutes for the team’s first shot on goal.

First period, 5:20, 0-0: Florida’s Jesse Winchester caught Chris Kelly with a real high elbow — his feet were off the ice when he hit Kelly’s head — and there was no call.

Shortly thereafter, Gregory Campbell tried to avenge the hit. Campbell dropped the gloves with Winchester in front of the Florida bench on the ensuing shift. There weren’t many punches thrown, but it sends the message.

Kelly initially went down the tunnel, but he has returned to the bench and returned to the ice.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: And we’re off. The Bruins and Panthers are underway, as both look to get going.

6:30 p.m.: The two teams have taken the ice for pregame warmups. Unsurprisingly, Tuukka Rask gets the start ofr the Bruins, and he’ll be opposed by Scott Clemmensen.

6:13 p.m.: Good evening from TD Garden. Hopefully if you’re driving in, you’re not stuck in the cluster of traffic that multiplies around these parts when it rains.

As we’ve already touched on, the Bruins are not in a good way, losers of four of five. But the Panthers are in town, which is good news for the black and gold. The B’s have won their last four games against the Panthers, and they haven’t lost to Florida since March 15, 2012. The Bruins have won three in a row over Florida here at the Garden, and they have won 10 of their last 12 and are 16-4-2 in their last 22 overall against their new division mates.

3:35 p.m.: Tim Thomas won’t be in net for the Panthers on Thursday night, and that’s kind of a bummer. It would certainly make for a compelling scene and storyline had the 2011 Stanley Cup hero made his return for the first time since leaving the team last offseason.

Speaking of that 2011 Stanley Cup win, Bruins coach Claude Julien had some very interesting things to say on Thursday morning when asked about Thomas, specifically the goalie’s incredible play on the way to the Cup. Julien was asked about the idea that the B’s wouldn’t win that Cup without Thomas.

“Well they’re right,” Julien said. “But Tim Thomas doesn’t win the Stanley Cup if our team doesn’t play as well as they did in front of him. So this is an honest statement: Tim played well but I think our team played just as well in front of him.”

You can read more from Julien by clicking here.

3:15 p.m.: We mentioned earlier that the Bruins held a limited morning skate prior to this one. The only three B’s to take the ice were goalie Chad Johnson, winger Jordan Caron and defenseman Matt Bartkowski. The rest of the work was off-ice work with Boston apparently trying to change things up to get going in the right direction.

The fact that those three were the ones to take the ice for the morning skate would appear to signify that they won’t play tonight.

With that in mind, here are the projected lines.

Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg — Chris Kelly — Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille — Gregory Campbell — Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara — Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton — Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid

1:45 p.m.: Bruins coach Claude Julien had plenty of things to say this morning following his team’s optional morning skate. It’s clear that Julien is becoming more and more frustrated with each day that passes and his team doesn’t improve. It also doesn’t help that players like Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas are making their returns to Boston, which adds yet another layer of intrigue from the outside, but it’s another thing Julien and the Bruins probably don’t want to be talking about.

Julien’s focus is on his team, of course, and he was asked if a fast start in this one is something he’d be looking for.

“I’m just looking for our identity basically,” he said following the Bruins’ morning skate. “It’s more of a — we’re not playing the way we should and we know that. We all know it. We know that we’re certainly not making good decisions out there, we’re not getting the results we want. You have to work through it and find your game. It’s a term you use all the time when you get tired of losing, you do something about it. So it’s one of those situations where we keep working hard at trying to rectify our game and it’s an opportunity here tonight to go out and show that we have made some progress.”

8 a.m. ET: The Bruins aren’t necessarily in an unfamiliar position, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. The B’s are in a pretty nasty funk right now, which is something they’ve been wont to do in past seasons, and they’ll look to snap out of that on Thursday night.

Boston has lost four of its last five, and the Bruins will attempt to get back on the right track when they host the Florida Panthers at TD Garden. It’s the second game in a season-long five-game homestand for the Bruins against a Panthers team that the Bruins beat on Oct. 17.

Frustration is starting to sink in for the Bruins, though. Head coach Claude Julien was especially terse in his postgame comments following the team’s latest loss on Tuesday night, a shootout setback against the Dallas Stars.

“I think every team goes through these all year because of the number of games that you have,” Julien said after Tuesday’s game. “So basically it’s one of those things that we’re going through right now and the only thing that you can take is I know we’ve worked out way out of it. And sometimes when you get tired enough of losing, you react, and that’s what you hope the guys are going to do here very soon.”

Luckily for the Bruins, it doesn’t sound like they’ll have to deal with any added distractions that may come with Tim Thomas’ return to Boston. It would be the first time he returned as a member of the opposition, but the 39-year-old goalie is still a nursing a groin injury and is not expected to play Thursday night. It probably helps the Bruins that the Panthers, well, just aren’t very good. They’re one of the worst teams in hockey right now, and their minus-22 goal differential is tied for worst in the league. They’re just 1-5-4 in their last 10 games and showing no real signs of improving. They’re exactly what the Bruins want to see right now.

The Bruins’ latest attempt to break out of this slump gets underway at 7 p.m. at TD Garden.

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