GOLD STAR: David Krejci finished with a monster night for the Bruins while netting his third career regular season hat trick, and his fifth overall including the Stanley Cup playoffs. Krejci led all skaters with seven shots on net and was consistently looking for his shot – with good reason as he twice beat Tim Thomas with chances from the slot area that came courtesy of the shoddy Florida defense. The three-goal outburst gives Krejci 16 goals on the season, and puts him in a good spot to secure the third 20-goal season of his solid career as a playmaking center.
BLACK EYE: None of the goals were really, truly all his fault, but it was a rough night nonetheless for Tim Thomas. In fact they’ve all been rough nights for Thomas against his former Bruins team in three games against them this season where he’s allowed 12 goals. David Krejci beat him twice on straight shots from the slot area, one off a defenseman breakdown and the other on a quick deflection in front. Thomas was also beaten on a Jordan Caron shot that bonked off his helmet, and bounced right to Jarome Iginla on the other side with plenty of net to shoot at. So Thomas allowed three goals on 39 shots, and wasn’t exactly terrible. But the entire Florida Panthers team was in the same mediocre boat: Brad Boyes was invisible, Nick Bjugstad and Dmitry Kulikov both finished a minus-3 and Tom Gilbert totally screwed the pooch on the first goal of the game. It just wasn’t a banner night for Florida.
TURNING POINT: The second David Krejci goal with 48 seconds left in the second period really set the game on its final path after a sleepy second period where Florida could have easily crawled back into the game. Instead they hit a couple of posts, and a puck deflected off Dylan Olsen and onto the stick of a waiting Krejci for a rocket goal from the slot. The score gave the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead, and left the Panthers grasping for any kind of motivation for the final 20 minutes of a game they had no hope of winning in a totally lost season. That’s the very definition of a backbreaking goal vs. a team just looking to quit.
HONORABLE MENTION: In what might have been his last game as a member of the Bruins, Jordan Caron was pretty good in his 12:18 of ice time. He set up Jarome Iginla’s goal with his hard shot that nailed the helmet off Tim Thomas before ricocheting wildly to the B’s power forward, and threw four registered hits while taking the body. Caron had three shots on net while staying involved at both ends of the ice, and was playing aggressively as attested by the two penalties he took during the game. If the former first round pick played like that every night, there are plenty of teams he’d be able to help given consistent minutes.
BY THE NUMBER: 23 – the number of scoreless games for Caron before notching an assist on Jarome Iginla’s goal in the first period. Caron now has two points on the season for the Black and Gold.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Dale [Tallon] went kicking tires, and found one that needed to be pumped.” –Tim Thomas on the trade that will bring Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers as Thomas’ prospective teammate.