Final, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins hang on for the 2-1 win after some anxious final seconds around the net and head into the All-Star break on a good note.
Other than Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and Tyler Seguin, who will be participating in the All-Star festivities, the Bruins will get a well-deserved break until returning to practice next Monday and playing in Carolina on Tuesday.
Third Period, 16:45, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins have done a good job of keeping the play down the Florida end since the Panthers pulled within one. It's a still a one-goal lead, but Boston has begun to reassert some control.
Third Period, 12:10, Bruins 2-1: Greg Campbell is now playing between Ryder and Wheeler on the third line as Claude Julien shortens his bench and Tyler Seguin sees his ice time cut again.
Third Period, 10:30, Bruins 2-1: The Panthers continue to pour it on looking for the equalizer. They've now evened the shots at 30-30.
Third Period, 8:37, Bruins 2-1: The Panthers will make a game of it, as Bryan Allen spoils Thomas' shutout bid with a blast from the top of the left circle.
Thomas turned aside the initial bid from the right side with the blocker, but sent it right to Allen on the left for a one-timer.
Third Period, 7:37, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins kill off Florida's first power play of the night easily, with the best scoring chance being Daniel Paille's attempt to stuff in a shorthanded bid in front.
Third Period, 5:37, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins will have an important penalty kill here as they try to keep Florida from getting any life at all with Dennis Seidenberg sent off for holding.
Third Period, 3:52, Bruins 2-0: Marchand nearly gets a breakaway off a Bergeron block. He does get off a shot from the right side that Vokoun stops, then Marchand and Dmitry Kulikov get tangled up after the whistle, but no penalties are called.
Third Period, 2:05, Bruins 2-0: Thomas with a quick toe save on Mike Santorelli's shot from the right boards. Thomas hasn't had a lot of work in this one, but he's made the stops when he had to.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 2-0: The final frame is under way at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to close out this win before heading into the All-Star break.
Boston is 19-0-1 this year when leading after two periods, while Florida is 1-12-0 when trailing after two.
Second Intermission Notes: It hasn't been a thriller here at the Garden, but the Bruins have what they need so far with a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.
Milan Lucic said in camp his goal was to score 20 goals this year. he reached that mark before the All-Star break with his tally in the second period to extend Boston's lead.
That was his only shot so far, but Boston does lead 26-19 in that department with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (4) and Zdeno Chara (3) leading the way.
Florida's Shawn Matthias will not return after suffering a lower-body injury crashing feet first into the boards.
Lots of credit to the Garden faithful in this one. It will be the 55th straight sellout based on tickets distributed, but there are not many empty seats despite the snowstorm raging outside. A Wednesday game against a team like Florida in a snowstorm can't even keep the fans away, very impressive.
End Second Period, Bruins 2-0: One of the duller periods of the season is in the books, but it was a good dull for the Bruins, who extended their lead to two goals while letting the Panthers stay in their slumber.
Second Period, 15:56, Bruins 2-0: Lucic comes up a bit lame after attempting a hit on Bryan Allen. He goes off in pain, but stays on the bench and appears to be OK.
Second Period, 13:43, Bruins 2-0: The pace has slowed again here, with neither team generating many chances, and that's just fine by the Bruins as they play with the two-goal lead.
Second Period, 10:17, Bruins 2-0: The Panthers put their first pressure on Thomas in a while with a pileup in the crease, but Thomas is able to tie up the puck despite the bodies crashing down around him.
Second Period, 7:53, Bruins 2-0: The Bergeron line creating chances again. That trio doesn't seem to have a shift that doesn't produce at least one scoring bid.
Second Period, 3:13, Bruins 2-0: Panthers forward Shawn Matthias goes down hurt and needs to be helped off after crashing into the boards feet first.
That came after a shift matching fourth lines with Florida enforcer asking Shawn Thornton to go several times, but Thornton refused to fight.
Second Period, 1:52, Bruins 2-0: So much for the slow start, as Krejci wins the faceoff back to Milan Lucic, who nets his 20th of the season from the top of the left circle.
The shot appeared to deflect in off Florida defenseman Bryan Allen in front.
Second Period, 1:50, Bruins 1-0: Slow start to the second, with neither team getting a shot on net almost two minutes in.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 1-0: The middle frame is under way at the Garden. The Bruins are 16-1-1 when leading after the first, while Florida is 3-12-0 when trailing after one period.
First Intermission Notes: Decent start for the Bruins, who continue to be carried by the Bergeron-Marchand-Recchi line.
Marchand has the game's only goal and now has 7-4-11 totals over his last 11 games. He also led the Bruins with two hits, though Boston was outhit 12-8 overall.
Scary sight when David Krejci went down with an apparent left arm injury, but he was able to return later in the period. The Bruins can't afford to lose him with Marc Savard sidelined again.
End First Period, Bruins 1-0: The opening 20 minutes are in the books, with the Bruins taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after a solid start to this one.
First Period, 18:10, Bruins 1-0: Bruins fans showing they can hold a grudge, as they continue to boo Dennis Wideman whenever he touches the puck. It's like he never left.
First Period, 15:13, Bruins 1-0: Krejci has returned to action, skating his regular shift moments after returning to the bench following his nasty-looking crash into the boards earlier in the period.
First Period, 13:31, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first, with Brad Marchand scoring on a wraparound at the right post.
Vokoun made the stop, but not before the puck crossed the line. After a review, the goal was ruled good. Bergeron and Chara get the assists.
First Period, 12:28, 0-0: Some more potential bad news for the Bruins here, as David Krejci goes down hurt in the left corner on a hit from Rostislav Olesz.
Lucic shoves with Olesz, bringing in Dennis Wideman. No penalties called on the hit or the scrum, while Krejci leaves favoring his left arm after being treated on the ice.
First Period, 12:19, 0-0: Strong pressure from the Bruins' fourth line, creating multiple chances on that shift with some help from Seidenberg and Boychuk at the points.
First Period, 9:18, 0-0: The Panthers with their first serious threat as the puck bounces around dangerously in a scramble in front, but Thomas keeps it out.
First Period, 7:30, 0-0: The Panthers have two shots now through just over seven minutes, after managing just one in the third period Tuesday in New York. They did score on that shot though to win 4-3.
First Period, 5:16, 0-0: The Bruins can't convert on the power play, as it remains scoreless despite a 5-1 advantage in shots for the Bruins.
First Period, 3:16, 0-0: The Bruins get the first power play of teh night as Chris Higgins is called for high-sticking.
Bergeron created a chance with a nice move in front and nearly scored on the delayed call.
First Period, 1:30, 0-0: The Bruins open with some hitting. Seeing Chara belt Michael Frolik early wasn't a shock, watching Blake Wheeler also throw a big check was a more pleasant surprise.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: After a ceremonial puck drop by hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree, who broke the color barrier in the NHL as a player with the Bruins, this one is ready to begin.
The Bruins will be looking to head into the All-Star break on a high note as they take on the Panthers.
7 p.m.: The Bruins will go with their usual starting alignment, with Patrice Bergeron opening between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, Zdeno Chara and Steven Kampfer on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Panthers counter with Chris Higgins, Stephen Weiss and Michael Frolik up front, Mike Weaver and Jason Garrison on the blue line and Tomas Vokoun in net.
6:50 p.m.: Mark Stuart is the scratch again on defense, as he'll sit out his third straight game.
The Panthers have scratched forward Steve Bernier and defenseman Joe Callahan.
6:45 p.m.: No changes in the lines for the Bruins in warm-ups:
All seven defensemen skated, with Adam McQuaid and Mark Stuart alternating in drills on the third pair with Andrew Ference. One of them will be the scratch, but no clear indication from warm-ups which it will be. Zdeno Chara remains with Steven Kampfer and Dennis Seidenberg with Johnny Boychuk.
6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Tomas Vokoun lead the teams out onto the ice for warm-ups. That will be the goaltending matchup in this one.
6 p.m.: The Bruins will finish off the pre-All Star portion of the schedule when they take on Florida in about an hour.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate, indicating he'll get the call to start before heading to Raleigh for the All-Star Game this weekend.
Coach Claude Julien also revealed that Marc Savard had returned home to Ontario to recuperate from his latest concussion.
Julien will also have a game-time decision to make on who to scratch on defense, with seven blueliners healthy and playing well. Mark Stuart has been the healthy scratch the last two games.
8 a.m.: The Bruins only got one of the two wins they were seeking out West after being blanked by the Kings in Los Angeles on Monday, but they have one final chance to pick up some momentum — and a couple of key points — before the All-Star break when host Florida on Wednesday.
The Panthers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Rangers in New York on Tuesday. Although they lost to the lowly Devils 5-2 on Sunday, the other three defeats were in overtime or shootouts, as the Panthers earned at least a point in seven of their last eight games. Florida is still just 22-21-5 on the season and its 49 points leave the Panthers six points out of the final playoff spot in the East.
Still, the Bruins can't take anything for granted. They've had success against Florida so far this year, but it hasn't come easy.
Boston blanked the Panthers 4-0 in their first meeting in the Garden back on Nov. 18, but it took a 41-save effort from Tuukka Rask for that shutout. It was also a 1-0 game until late in the third, when Milan Lucic completed his hat trick with two goals 15 seconds apart with just over five minutes left and Shawn Thornton added another 1:09 later.
It took another third-period outburst to win 3-1 in Florida on Nov. 24, as Brad Marchand tied the game with a shorthanded strike eight seconds into the third, then Mark Recchi added two more. And on Dec. 27, the Bruins needed a shootout to prevail 3-2, with Blake Wheeler scoring the only goal in the shootout after David Krejci scored both goals in regulation.
The Bruins have long had trouble with the Panthers, especially at home. Even with this year's wins, Boston is just 30-26-6-4 all time against Florida. And other than Minnesota, which has won in all six of its trips to the Garden, the Panthers are the only team the Bruins have a losing record against on home ice at 12-14-4-3. The Bruins also lost their only playoff meeting against Florida, falling in five games in the opening round in 1996.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.