Boston Bruins: 4 Takeaways from Their 4-1 Win over the Florida Panthers
The mere fact that Rask only let in one goal after Boston went up 2-0 was newsworthy, considering what happened in Boston’s last three losses. But his skating mates finished Florida off in ideal fashion as well.
After repelling 11 shots in each of the first two periods, Rask had seven challenges to answer in the closing frame, five of which came from distances of 51, 63, 35, 90 and 51 feet.
Meanwhile, the Bruins charged up a pair of insurance goals. One of those, an empty-netter, was star Patrice Bergeron’s second of the game, a symbolic dagger by the game-winning striker who also trumped all of his peers at the faceoff dot with 18 wins on 23 draws.
For Rask, who is now 14-2-3 on the year with a 1.91 GAA and .930 save percentage, a performance like Thursday's is standard at this point. Same story with the leading point-getter Bergeron, who also tops Boston’s chart with 16 assists and a plus-20 rating.
Besides those two continuing to play as expected, here are some other key developments in a less-than-impeccable, but more conventional effort by the Spoked Bs.
Home Cooking For the Merlot Line?
Speaking to the team’s website prior to the game, fourth-line winger Daniel Paille voiced his incentive and that of his colleagues to step up and reiterate the Bruins’ depth.
“With our schedule now going towards the end of the season, it’s gonna be hectic and we need to play four lines,” he told Caryn Switaj of bostonbruins.com. “I think our team is built that way that for when the playoffs come, to give our top lines to get a little more rest so I know, for us, it’s going to be big to help produce and play some minutes for the team.”
Together with linemates Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton, Paille proceeded to make an even louder statement on the ice, and a timely one at that. Paille accepted a feed from Campbell and then garnered the primary setup on Thornton’s insurance goal.
That spotted Boston a 3-1 lead with 7:17 to spare in the third period, coming nearly two full periods after Bergeron had made it 2-0 and almost 30 minutes after the Panthers hit the board.
The assist constituted Paille’s third point in the last four games. Ditto the goal-getter Thornton. Campbell amassed his second assist in as many home dates, having also gotten in on their collaboration to score on Philadelphia last Saturday.
In addition, Campbell threw four hits and recorded two takeaways Thursday night while Thornton blocked a shot, took four of his own and landed two body checks.
Another 3-in-3 for 'Z'
Zdeno Chara slugged home the first goal in either zone for the second time in as many games with a 51-foot slapper at 3:55 of the first period. It was his second goal in as many meetings with the Panthers and his third point in as many games overall.
Chara has now produced in 10 out of 25 outings this season, with nine of those fruitful ventures coming in a troika of three-game scoring streaks. The latest set fell within the slimmest possible window of four nights.
In his day job of defense, Chara threw four hits to help stifle the Florida strike force and preserve his plus-two rating on the night.
Johnson Jumps Back In
Seeing 17 minutes and 43 seconds of ice time, he would tie Campbell and Chara for the team lead with four hits on the night, a personal season high in five appearances with the Bruins.
First Shortie Setback
The first special teams segment of the night amounted to Florida’s lone goal and the first shorthanded tally Boston has allowed this season. Rookie point patroller Dougie Hamilton did not appear ready to collect Milan Lucic’s pass and had subsequent trouble keeping up with an opportunistic Shawn Matthias as the play changed directions.
Matthias’ tally, which sliced a 2-0 deficit in half, was officially unassisted, but it might as well have been the product of a third Lucic giveaway. The Bruins winger, who effectively forfeited his chance to join 12 teammates in gaining a plus/minus point, was charged with two unfavorable turnovers, although he did not have one officially recorded on that costly play.