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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bruins Tame Panthers

At Thursday night’s Press Conference, Head Coach Claude Julien acknowledged that his team was not playing up to their capabilities, a problem clearly illustrated with the Bruins recent skid, having lost four out their last five games. Last night against the Florida Panthers, they played up to their capabilities. In fact, they looked like the team that made that Stanley Cup run from a year ago. Behind Reilly Smith’s two-point night and Tuukka Rask’s 23 save performance, the Bruins out-played, out-hustled, and out-worked the struggling Florida Panthers 4-1 last night in front of a sold-out TD Garden crowd.
After a slow first four minutes, the energy quickly spiked and tempers began flaring after a high Jesse Winchester hit to the head of Chris Kelly went uncalled and temporarily knocked Kelly out of the game. Gregory Campbell decided to take matters into his own hands, dropping the gloves with Winchester in an evenly-matched scrap. Despite being outshot 8-7 in the period, the Bruins seemed to carry the play, with Smith, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson garnering good chances. Florida had a great chance themselves with about seven-and-half minutes left in the period with an odd-man rush, but Rask, as he was all night, was up to the task, making one of numerous acrobatic saves he made on the night.
After a scoreless first period, both teams traded unsuccessful power-play opportunities early in the second. However, at 7:17, David Krejci netted his third of the season on a blast from the point off of a nice feed from Zdeno Chara, set up by a Dougie Hamilton pinch on the near-side boards. Perhaps needing a spark, Florida’s Krys Barch tangled with Shawn Thornton with 6:11 left in the 2nd in a match between two experienced fighters who have met before. The plan seemed to work as Florida garnered some good scoring chances with Matt Gilroy and Thomas Huberdeau getting good looks, forcing Rask to come up huge again.
 Leading 1-0 heading into the third, the Bruins knew they had to keep the pressure on, having lost a third period lead on Tuesday against Dallas. The first line responded with a great shift that culminated in a Brad Marchand goal 4:09 into the third, his second of the season and first since Opening Night. Dennis Seidenberg’s shot from the point slipped through the pads of Florida’s Scott Clemmensen (starting in place for the injured Tim Thomas, who received a great ovation from the crowd in his return to Boston). Marchand was right there for the rebound to put the Bruins up 2-0.
Torey Krug made it 3-0 with a quick wrist shot on Clemmensen’s glove side on four-on-two rush, taking a nice pass from Chris Kelly, set-up by an indirect break-out pass by Reilly Smith. It was the sixth of the year for the young, talented defensemen. With 5:37 left, Florida ended the Bruins shutout shutout bid when Jesse Winchester swatted in a Nick Bjugstad shot that tied-up Rask. Florida continued to press for the tying goals, but Reilly Smith’s second of the season put the game away at 18:13. Smith picked off a Panther breakout pass and snapped it by Clemmensen to put the Bruins up 4-1 and complete the scoring for the night. With the win, the Bruins improve to 9-5-1 on the season and continue to sit fourth in the Atlantic Division while the loss dropped the Panthers to 3-9-4 on the season, keeping them in seventh in the division.