BOSTON – Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Florida Panthers by a 2-0 score after the first 20 minutes of Tim Thomas vs. Tuukka Rask at TD Garden.
1) Brian Campbell has zeroes across the board in 9:16 of ice time for Florida except for the fact that he’s been on ice for both of the goals against Florida. Thanks for coming, Florida Soupy!
2) Milan Lucic carving out all kinds of space down low against the Florida defensemen to help both Boston goals become reality. On the first goal he simply overpowered Tom Gilbert down low on the rebound of a Jarome Iginla shot, and flipped the puck past Tim Thomas. On the second goal his presence down low battling Dmitry Kulikov seemed to make Thomas react a little more rashly to the Zdeno Chara point shot, and the puck bounced off Kulikov and Thomas on its way to the net.
3) Zdeno Chara was credited with the B’s second goal, and has now pulled into a tie with Shea Weber for the NHL lead with 13 goals on the season, though many of Chara’s goals have come playing forward in the power play formation.
4) Interesting to see that Tim Thomas has returned to putting the team colors on his pads and helmet after shunning the Black and Gold Bruins colors for simple white and black equipment in that last contentious year with the Bruins. I guess it wasn’t about scientific data with the white pads after all, eh?
5) Four shots on net for Loui Eriksson in 4:14 of ice time in the first period. He continues to be very active, and looks like he’s back to where his game left off before the last concussion against the Penguins. He is certainly not afraid to take the puck hard to the net, and that’s a great quality in any form.
BOSTON – 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 Tim Thomas vs. Tuukka Rask at TD Garden.
1) Two goals for Milan Lucic as he’s been wearing down the Panthers with his size and strength down low. The latest was a Matt Bartkowski point shot that both Lucic and Jarome Iginla crashed the net on with Dmitry Kulikov unable to hold them back, and Lucic picks up loose puck under Tim Thomas and fires into the empty net.
2) Nice adjustment by the Bruins power play on their other goal in the period: Carl Soderberg went toward the net with the puck from the corner, drew the PK defenders toward him and then feathered a pass to a wide open Reilly Smith on the backdoor. The penalty kills had begun sniffing that straight backdoor play out between those two players, so the Big Swede needed to become a scoring threat to change how the FLA PK defends it. Smith has a seven game point streak, and regained the sole team lead with his 18th goal of the season.
3) It’s a whole different world for Tim Thomas with Marcel Goc and Erik Gudbranson playing in front of him instead of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, and it’s much more difficult to keep pucks out of the back of his net.
4) Patrice Bergeron having a tough couple of games. Was inadvertently punched in the first shift of the game vs. the Islanders on a play that broke his nose, and then he caught a high stick in the same area that was never called by the referees. He was having a long conversation with the refs as he skated off the ice, and was leaking pretty badly for the rest of the second period.
5) Three assists and a plus-3 for David Krejci, who is also 4-for-15 in the face-off circle. Quite an interesting night for him, and he’s really struggled the last few games in the face-off dot.