Here are 16 thoughts after the third period with the Bruins beating the Florida Panthers by a 4-1 score after 60 minutes of action at TD Garden.
1) Apparently the Bruins top line heard Claude Julien’s message loud and clear. Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton combined for four shots in the first period and created opportunities for themselves by fore-checking the life out of the Florida defensemen when they had the chance. That led to a David Krejci shot from the high slot that turned into a Zdeno Chara goal off the rebound, and put the Bruins in the driver’s seat for the game.
2) The Bruins are 11-1-1 this year when they score the game’s first goal, and the Panthers are 1-12-4 when they give it up. Do we need to play the next two periods?
3) Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller showed up for the Panthers tonight, but the rest of the team looks like they never left the team hotel. Brian Campbell fell asleep on a backdoor play with Patrice Bergeron, and dropped to a minus-19 on the season. And they played him over 33 minutes of ice time in the last game they played. No wonder they’re 30th in the NHL in defense.
4) Patrice Bergeron has 5 goals and 16 points in his last 13 games and continues to put the bow on another outstanding season. It looks like he’s scoring all of the goals that Brad Marchand was getting over the first six weeks of the season now. It was Marchand that found him with a slick cross-ice pass for the backdoor goal, and Seguin set it all up by drawing the defense to him on a net drive.
5) Four shots for the fourth line and another near goal on a nice Gregory Campbell past into a quick release for Shawn Thornton. The bid handcuffed Scott Clemmensen, but he was able to recover enough to cover it up.
6) Aaron Johnson looking pretty rusty tonight, but that’s to be expected as this is the first time he’s played in the last 19 games. Probably need to play him more if you expect him to be sharp when you do need him.
1) Just a bland, disinterested second period from the Bruins where they managed only seven shots on net and gave up a shorthanded goal Shawn Matthias on the kind of extra effort play they’re not showing. Bruins should easily win this game, but they might not unless they come out better than the middle 20 minutes in the third.
2) Eleven shots on net between Peter Mueller and Shawn Matthias. They’re filling in nicely with Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss out of commission for the Panthers.
3) I think it’s time for Dougie Hamilton to stop second-guessing the officials and whining when he doesn’t get a call. The B’s defenseman was tangled up with Jonathan Huberdeau way behind the play in the defensive zone, and then gave the ref a long look when there was no penalty call. That’s not going to endear a 19-year-old to a group of officials where he’ll quickly get a reputation if he doesn’t nip it in the bud. Might be time for him to accept he won’t get the benefit of many calls as a rookie, and it will get worse if he keeps showing them up.
4) The beat goes on for the Bruins on the penalty kill where they’re 2-for-2 tonight against the Panthers, and have killed off 22 straight penalties while still ranking No. 1 in the league. Chris Kelly goes out and Jay Pandalfo steps right into a PK role.
5) The Krejci line took the shots in the first period, and then reverted right back to passive form in the second. Lucic led a 3-on-2 rush on the left wing and had a good look from the left circle, but tried to slide a cross-ice pass through a defender rather than shot at the open net. The Florida defense got a stick on the puck and the Bruins got nothing out of the odd-man advantage. Lucic needs to start getting a little more selfish in those scoring chances as it’s negatively affecting the team when he doesn’t try to finish scoring chances. He’s got two shots tonight, but he could easily have a couple more.
1) Fourth liners Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton have two goals apiece in the month of March, and big wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have zero. Very telling.
2) Shawn Thornton’s goal is a perfect example of what the rest of the Bruins need to be doing: skating hard to get to loose pucks, keeping plays alive in the offensive zone and then putting your head down and hustling to chase it at the other end of the zone. Not enough of the high end players are doing that kind of dirty work, and that’s why they’re not getting rewarded.
3) Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were good to start out in this game, but they sank right back into some lazy, disinterested habits as the game went on. Lucic missed wide left when a Horton pass zinged off his right skate before going just wide of the goal.
4) Brad Marchand missed wide left on the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot right out in front of the net. He found a hiding spot in traffic and fired a puck at the net without the goaltender getting a good look at him, but simply missed. A month ago that would have been right under the bar. Nose Face Killah is cooling off a little bit.
5) Two goals for Patrice Bergeron when he gets the empty netter. He’s really starting to heat up as Marchand cools off.