Final, 4-1 Bruins: It got dicey at times, but ultimately the Bruins were able to be the better team tonight, and they really needed to.
Third period, 57.2, 4-1 Bruins: Patrice Bergeron into an empty net, and this one’s over. The “BS” chants from the crowds might have inspired that one, who knows?
Third period, 2:34, 3-1 Bruins: Just as time expired on a Bruins power play (too many men for Florida), Nathan Horton scores, but the goal is waived off due to Lucic interfering with Clemmensen. Good call.
Third period, 7:17, 3-1 Bruins: The fourth line had some really nifty passing for the entirety of their shift, but it didn’t really result in much. Then, Shawn Thornton threw one on night, and the puck bounced off Clemmensen and a skate or two, and he was able to pounce on a loose puck in front of an empty net and bury it into an empty net to stretch the Bruins’ lead to 3-1. Sports work in funny ways sometimes.
Third period, 8:48, 2-1 Bruins: Once again the Bruins nearly get their insurance goal, but this time, Clemmensen flashes the left pad and makes a nice toe save on a Hamilton slap shot from the blue line.
Third period, 13:30, 2-1 Bruins: There wasn’t much reason for optimism for the home crowd in the opening six minutes of the third period, but the Bruins nearly cashed in on their lone opportunity of the period just before the whistle. Nathan Horton carried the puck through the neutral zone and down the right wing before sending a pass to Lucic. The puck deflected off Lucic’s skate and toward his stick blade, but he wasn’t able to get to it before it passed the right post and out of harm’s way.
Shots are all square at 24-24, and the game could still very much go either way.
Third period, 20:00, 2-1 Bruins: The Panthers’ record when trailing after two periods is 1-12-2. It would be really bad for the Bruins to have an ugly period and let this one get away.
End of second period, 2-1 Bruins: That was not a very good period for the Bruins, who didn’t match the Panthers’ energy (you saw how dangerous that can be on Tuesday night) and are fortunate to still be leading. The period nearly ended with a Florida goal, but the Bruins’ defense was able to sweep the puck away from the goal mouth.
So this game could go two different ways. The Bruins could either gather themselves in the locker room and come out and establish themselves as the clearly better team. Or, they could let the pace of the game be dominated by Florida and risk a loss in a game they shouldn’t lose. Based on what we’ve seen from Boston this year, it’s hard to know how this one will play out.
Second period, 1:03, 2-1 Bruins: At least the Bruins’ penalty kill looks good tonight. Another sterling effort.
Second period, 4:12, 2-1 Bruins: The Panthers can’t get anything on net during the power play, and Dennis Seidenberg was able to lay the hit of the night on a flying-out-of-control Gudbranson. The B’s will now have another penalty to kill though. Too many men on the ice. That’s at least three of those penalties for Boston this year, which is about three too many.
Second period, 7:32, 2-1 Bruins: The Panthers are on the power play, with Horton to the box for high sticking. Pretty black and white call there.
Second period, 8:00, 2-1 Bruins: Dougie Hamilton got tangled up in front of the Boston net with Jonathan Huberdeau, and Huberdeau got a lot of hands on Hamilton’s head, but there was no penalty call.
The Panthers definitely seem to be in control of the momentum a bit here in the second, as they’ve outshot Boston 9-5 thus far in the period.
Second period, 16:51, 2-1 Bruins: It started with a bad pass from Milan Lucic to Dougie Hamilton and led to a foot race between Shawn Matthias and Hamilton. Hamilton had the edge, but Matthias dived for the puck and took out the defenseman. Matthias then popped up with the stick on his blade and deked Rask for a short-handed goal.
Second period, 18:22, 2-0 Bruins: Boston gets the first power play of the night, as Erik Gudbranson let his elbow loose on Pandolfo in the neutral zone. The call was for interference.
Second period, 20:00, 2-0 Bruins: The B’s have had their fair share of holding leads this season, but the Panthers are 1-12-3 this year when trailing after the first period. Tonight would be a good night to get some practice on building a big lead.
End of first period, 2-0 Bruins: The B’s take a 2-0 lead into the locker room, thanks to solid goaltending from Rask (11 saves) and a persistent offense that has generated 16 shots already. Clemmensen may need to ask his teammates to actually play some defense for the rest of the night.
First period, 5:04, 2-0 Bruins: When Tyler Seguin carries the puck through the neutral zone with speed, good things happen.
It showed there, as Seguin burst into the offensive end before dishing to Marchand on the left wing. Marchand held the puck for just a moment before passing to Bergeron, who was crashing to the right post. As one Jack Edwards would say, tic-tac-goal.
First period, 9:49, 1-0 Bruins: The B’s top line of Lucic-Krejci-Horton has gone cold of late, but the trio is playing like they have something to prove tonight. They’ve had two great shifts in a row, with Lucic just now backhanding a pass through traffic to Krejci for a hard one-timer from close range. Clemmensen was able to make a nice glove save, though. Still, that line looks good thus far.
First period, 12:13, 1-0 Bruins: Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau is dealing with rejection after Rask just flashed the glove on a golden opportunity for the Panthers’ leading goal scorer. He slipped through the Boston defense after a shoddy change of the defensive pair, and he skated all alone down the slot, aiming high to Rask’s glove side. Rask made the save and fell to the ice for his eight save of the night already.
First period, 14:12, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins nearly doubled their lead on — of all things — a long Shawn Thornton slap shot. Gregory Campbell tried to stuff home a loose rebound through Clemmensen, but the netminder gathered himself to cover it up.
First period, 16:05, 1-0 Bruins: The B’s are on the board.
A David Krejci slap shot from the high slot went wide, but the puck bounded around the boards and ended up going right to Zdeno Chara at the top of the left faceoff circle. He fired a bomb past Scott Clemmennsen, and the Bruins lead 1-0.
First period, 18:20: We’re just 1:40 in, and already the Panthers have generated a couple of opportunities for a garbage goal. The Bruins have been able to steer the puck out of danger but will want to avoid letting the puck hang out near the net if they want to avoid an early hole.
First period, 20:00: The teams are ready, so let’s play hockey.
7:03 p.m.: We’re minutes from puck drop, so here are your starting lines tonight:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Tomas Flesichmann-Marcel Goc-Tomas Kopecky
Filip Kuba-Tyson Strachan
6:37 p.m.: It is indeed Pandolfo-Peverley-Caron on the third line, and Boychuk is paired with Johnson.
6:30 p.m.: Good evening from the TD Garden, where the Bruins and Panthers are a little over a half-hour away from puck drop.
In this wild condensed schedule, it feels like it’s been a while since the Bruins have been at home, even though it’s only been five days since the B’s put forth a complete effort in a 3-0 win over Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.
A lot has happened since then, though. Chris Kelly broke his leg in Ottawa on Monday, Kaspars Daugavins turned the hockey world on its head with a crazy shootout attempt, and Adam McQuaid suffered a mystery injury Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Aaron Johnson will skate in McQuaid’s place tonight, and Jay Pandolfo will likely remain on the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron.
We’ll know more in a couple minutes when the Bruins go through their line rushes, and I’ll update the blog as soon as they do.