BOSTON -- The Bruins recovered from Tuesday's collapse in Pittsburgh by beating the Florida Panthers Thursday night at the TD Garden. Shawn Thornton and Patrice Bergeron each scored in the third to help the B's to a 4-1 win.
Thornton scored his third goal of the season as he essentially got his own rebound after skating hard around the net and putting home a loose puck that was only loose because he took the initial low shot from below the right circle.
The goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 7:17 remaining in the third period, and was followed up by a Bergeron empty-netter with 57.2 seconds left in the game to make it 4-1.
The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to first-period goals from Zdeno Chara and Bergeron.
Chara blasted a rebound from the top of the left circle that beat a screened Scott Clemmensen upstairs as he was screened by Milan Lucic, 3:55 into the game.
Then with 5:04 left in the first period, Bergeron finished a perfect Brad Marchand pass through the slot. Seguin took the puck over the blue line and found Marchand streaking down the left wing. Marchand then found Bergeron at the right post, where it put it home and gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
The B's held that 2-0 lead until 3:10 into the second period, when Shawn Matthias scored a shorthanded goal to cut it to 2-1.
Matthias beat Dougie Hamilton to a puck that was on its way towards Tuukka Rask. Matthias dove for the puck from behind Hamilton, forcing Hamilton to tumble over him. Hamilton looked for the penalty call -- which there was none -- and Matthias quickly got up and slipped the puck around Rask's left pad, as the Bruins goaltender seemed to be a little too far to his right.
But Matthias' effort wasn't enough for the Panthers to get back into the game, and the B's closed it out in the third.
Talking Points, from Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty
GOLD STAR: Four shots on net and a goal for Shawn Thornton in 9:10 of ice time, and credit the Bruins enforcer for showing the rest of the team exactly what they need right now. The fourth line’s energetic shift in the third period netted Thornton his third goal of the season, and provided an example of dogged determination and not giving up on a play. Thornton flicked the puck through crease after a crafty no-look pass from Daniel Paille, and then hustled to the other side of the net where a good bounce gave him the puck right back. He was rewarded for his hustle with a goal, and more Bruins would be right now if they were skating as hard as the fourth liners are.
BLACK EYE: No shots and a minus-2 for Brian Campbell in 25:57 of ice time including a lost race to the net that resulted in Patrice Bergeron’s game-winning goal in the second period. Campbell is a minus-19 for the season and is one of the players really taking a beating after the Florida roster has been stripped because of a constantly flowing rash of injuries that’s wiping the team out. Campbell was still a productive solid player in Chicago and was an All-Star for the Panthers last season, but he’s been pretty terrible for a bad Panthers team this season.
TURNING POINT: The game was very much up for grabs after the second period when the Panthers halved Boston’s lead with a Shawn Matthias shorthanded goal, and out-shot the B’s 12-7 in one of their worst periods of the season. But Claude Julien and the Bruins challenged themselves to be better in the final 20 minutes, and the Bruins were just good enough to get an insurance goal from Thornton and an empty netter from Patrice Bergeron in the closing minutes to take their second 4-1 victory over the Panthers this season.
HONORABLE MENTION: On most nights the guy with a two-goal game and the game-winning goal would get the Gold Star, but in this instance Patrice Bergeron has to settle for the second honor. Bergeron now has five goals and 13 points in his last 10 games and has racked up his seventh multi-point game of the season. He also won 18-of-23 face-offs and fired off three shots on net in 19:30 of ice time, so Bergeron had himself another splendidly solid all-around game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 12-1-1 – the Bruins’ nearly unbeatable record when they score the first goal of the game this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We didn't play that well tonight. We were a little better in the third (period), but we aren't playing our best right now… let's put it that way.” –Bruins coach Claude Julien, who wasn’t executing high-fives or handstands after the game was over despite a 4-1 win over Florida.