SUNRISE, FL – Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Florida Panthers by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes of action at the BB&T Center.
1) What a goal by Zdeno Chara to give the Bruins the lead. The 6-foot-9 defenseman picked up a Brad Marchand backhanded saucer pass, pulled off a dangling 360 on his way to the net and then went top shelf with a backhanded shot over Florida goaltender Jacob Markstrom. You don’t see many of those from a defensive beast like Chara, but it takes rare athleticism to pull something like that off when you’re a 6-foot-9 defenseman going at close to top speed. That will make the highlight reels for a while.
2) Tough stretch for Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid leading to the Florida goal. McQuaid was shaken up when he collided with Daniel Paille as they were both trying to block a Drew Shore shot from beyond the right face-off circle. Then puck bounced to Tomas Kopecky, who was able to fight off Ference in front of the net for an easy with a scrambling Tuukka Rask out of the picture. Ference was a minus player in two of the last four games heading into Sunday’s game against the Panthers, and he’s been losing his share of battles in the defensive zone thus far this season.
3) Adam McQuaid left the ice after the collision with Daniel Paille when he couldn’t get up and recover defensively following the hit, and missed a few shifts before eventually returning later in the first period.
4) Great play by the Bruins off an offensive zone face-off that led to Boston’s first goal. David Krejci beat Marcel Goc with a clean draw win and worked the puck toward Milan Lucic from the left circle to the slot area, and Lucic buried a wrist shot to the stick-side of Jacob Markstrom. Add that to the center face-off play that Brad Marchand scored on in Winnipeg, and the Bruins are using their familiarity and experience with each other to good advantage. Not to mention some very good coaching calls from Claude Julien and Co. on the Bruins bench.
5) A highlight goal for the go-ahead score and three registered hits for Zdeno Chara. Did I mention that he’s been pretty good here in the first period?
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Here are five more thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Florida Panthers by a 3-1 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the BB&T Center.
1) Chris Kelly becomes the final Bruins forward to score his first goal of the season when he snaps a 14-game scoreless streak and puts the finishing tough on a power play goal for a little insurance. Daniel Paille fanned on a shot just inside the blue line and the puck slid over to a wide open Kelly near the front of the net. Kelly flipped it into the net and he had a rare PP score for the Bruins. It appeared that Claude Julien put the third line on the PP with 20-30 seconds to go when both of the other units looked totally ineffective.
2) Chris Bourque picked up an assist on Kelly’s goal when he dropped a pass off to Daniel Paille before exiting the ice, and now leads the Bruins with three power play assists on the season. It’s clear the No. 48 isn’t going to be a superstar at the NHL level, but he’s become much more effective since getting comfortable in his situation with the Bruins.
3) Brutal non-call at the end of the second period as Mike Weaver drove Milan Lucic into the boards from behind with a cross-check, and the Bruins power forward earned himself a double-minor when he cross-checked weaver into the ice. Lucic kept right on giving ref Chris Lee an earful even after he’d retreated to the penalty box, and the refs compounded their first mistake by slapping Lucic with a 10-minute misconduct as well. Coming off a Tampa game when the Bruins didn’t get a single power play, I think there’s a boiling point coming with the refs for the Black and Gold. I’m normally critical of the retaliation penalties like the one Lucic took at the end of the second, but he needs to protect himself if the refs aren’t going to do it on dangerous hits like that.
4) Five hits and four blocked shots for Dennis Seidenberg, who is paying the physical price for the Bruins today.
5) Tough day for Brad Marchand, who was clocked on a head-on collision by Mike Weaver in the first period and then took an awkward tumble when he was shoved from behind by Dmitry Kulikov in the second period during an offensive possession. Marchand can usually wriggle his way out of the damaging hits, but not today.
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Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Florida Panthers by a 4-1 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the BB&T Center.
1) Tuukka Rask was at his best in the third period making 11 saves while protecting a two-goal lead and had a beauty of a glove save on Marcel Goc on a rebound in the third period.
2) The Panthers announced the attendance as 18,000 plus for a Sunday afternoon Florida/Boston game with a lot of empty red seats according to this pair of eyes. When Red Sox President Larry Lucchino was apprised of the announcement he nodded knowingly.
3) It certainly looks like it should be time for Jacob Markstrom in net for the Florida Panthers. He was pretty good today as he kept Florida in a game they didn’t play particularly well in.
4) A Daniel Paille empty net goal gives the Bruins the first three-goal lead they’ve held at any point this season. That’s a pretty amazing statistic considering how much success the Bruins have enjoyed this year in their first 15 games.
5) A goal and an assist for Paille, who is putting together a really solid season for the Bruins this year. He’s got six points and three goals in 13 games.