But the Bruins can't afford to take the Panthers lightly in their third meeting on Monday, and they can't expect to follow the same path to victory this time around.
In each of those first two wins, Boston survived sloppy starts and earned the win with a dominant showing in the third period. On Nov. 18 at the Garden, the Bruins took a tenuous 1-0 lead into the third, and finally put Florida away with three goals in a 1:24 span with just over five minutes left for a 4-0 victory.
Six days later, the Bruins were down 1-0 entering the third, but a Brad Marchand shorthanded goal eight seconds into the final frame turned things around, and Mark Recchi added two goals for a 3-1 win.
The Bruins can't assume that one period's work will get them another two points in this one.
Florida has played better of late, winning six of their last nine games, and goalie Tomas Vokoun has a knack for delivering big performances against the Bruins.
The Bruins need a complete effort, similar to what they finally showed in their last outing when they put together 60 solid minutes in a 4-1 win over Atlanta. Shawn Thornton set the tone with a lengthy heavyweight bout with Eric Bouton two seconds in and Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal in the first period.
That's the kind of start the Bruins need again on Monday, as Boston is 14-1-1 this year when scoring first and 13-0-0 when leading after one period. Conversely, the Bruins are just 4-10-3 when giving up the first goal and 0-7-2 when trailing after one period.
Obviously, a strong start is vital. The Bruins need to be engaged emotionally and committed physically from the opening faceoff.
"I'm pretty sure we're aware now that that's how we have to play if we're going to be successful," Thornton said after the Atlanta win. "We saw spurts of it earlier in the year when we had everyone going. There was passion. Everyone was involved emotionally and that's what we need every night if this team is going to be successful. We're not built to float around out there. We're built to work hard and play gritty hockey, which is what this town loves too, so I'm sure we're aware of it now."
The Bruins should have been aware of the need for that commitment all season, but Thursday's win, complete with a late-game brawl to bond the club even tighter, could be the kind of game to finally hammer home the point.
"I think it's good that we responded the way we did [Thursday] and we didn't go too far, but we still, when we come back from the break we have to go on this road trip and we have to play the same way," forward Michael Ryder said. "We can't let it go away. We have to remember what we did [Thursday]."
The Bruins carried the momentum of an emotional, fight-filled win over Dallas to the top seed of the Eastern Conference two years ago, but last year, none of their potential "statement games" proved to have any lasting impact. Will Thursday's win resonant the way that slugfest with the Stars did? Or will the Bruins fall back into bad habits once again?
The start to this game with Florida will be vital to securing two points at a time when the Bruins need every point they can get to climb up the standings. But how they come out in this game could also say a lot about what this team is capable of for the season as a whole, as the Bruins attempt to show they can build upon the strides they made in Thursday's emotional win.
"You learn a lot more from the losses and from the tough times and when you finally put it together and get a game where you take a step in the right direction, it definitely helps," defenseman Andrew Ference said. "But you've got to keep pushing for it and I think some of the trouble we got into last year was we would take those steps and have a really good game and kind of get back into the same funk. And so we didn't carry that over into the games. So if we learned our lessons from that, then yeah, it can really help."
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