The Boston Bruins put on a dominating performance Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
In what became a chippy, spirited affair, the Bruins ultimately prevailed with a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers, who were fighting for their playoff lives. Boston did suffer a pair of potentially serious injuries, however.
Rookie forward Jake DeBrusk led the way with two goals for the B’s, who moved back into first place in the Eastern Conference with the victory. DeBrusk missed the previous eight games while battling an upper-body injury.
The game also marked the debut of the B’s revamped second line, which still is without injured forward Rick Nash. With the return of DeBrusk, left-shooting forward Donato, who had been playing left wing, slid over to right wing alongside center David Krejci. But the line took no time to adjust, as DeBrusk finished with two goals and an assist, Donato logged a goal and an assist and Krejci finished with three helpers.
With the win, the Bruins improved to 49-17-11, while the Panthers fell to 39-30-8 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down:
PANTHERS SCORE FIRST
Florida got on the board first, thanks to a an early goal from winger Jamie McGinn. Keith Yandle and Vincent Trocheck assisted on the play.
It was a good start for the Panthers, who noticeably were desperate throughout the game.
It was all Bruins from that point on, however.
BOSTON FIGHTS BACK
Defenseman Nick Holden evened the score for the Bruins at 11:15 of the first period. It was a great goal for Holden, but it came after an even better pass from Krejci.
Check this out:
The B’s weren’t done scoring in the first frame, though.
Less than four minutes later, DeBrusk received a sweet pass from fellow-rookie Donato and buried the puck past Panthers goalie James Reimer.
DeBrusk understandably was fired up after the play.
Boston closed the first period with a 12-7 advantage over Florida in shots on goal.
Simply put: The Bruins took it to the Panthers in the second period.
When the dust settled, Boston outscored the Panthers 3-0 in the frame, which included a pair of heated scraps. Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid destroyed Panthers forward Micheal Haley in a spirited fight, and Brad Marchand served a roughing penalty after a chippy exchange with Trocheck.
Here’s the period’s first goal, which came on a sweet shot form Donato:
And here’s Patrice Bergeron’s follow-up, which helped David Pastrnak reach a career milestone:
Finally, watch DeBrusk give the B’s a 5-1 lead with his second of the game:
Reimer was pulled after DeBrusk’s tally.
It wasn’t all positive in the second period, though. Center Riley Nash left the game after taking a puck off the side of his head.
Nash received stitches to his ear, head coach Bruce Cassidy announced following the game.
Boston outshot Florida 12-9 in the frame.
BRUINS LOSE BRANDON CARLO
The Bruins were looking to coast to victory, but an injury to Brandon Carlo put a huge damper on the afternoon.
The sophomore defenseman went down with a leg injury midway through the third period. Carlo, whose leg bent awkwardly before he fell down, had to be stretchered off the ice.
There were no penalties in the period, and Florida outshot Boston 15-9
The Bruins will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers on Sunday. Puck drop at Wells Fargo Center is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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