SUNRISE, Fla. – Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Florida Panthers by a 2-1 score after the first 40 minutes at the BB&T Center that’s embarrassingly empty.
1) A better period for the Panthers in the second period as they clogged up the neutral zone area, and slowed down the Bruins attack enough to get back into the game. The Bruins still managed to outshoot the Panthers by an 11-8 count in the second period, but there weren’t too many Grade "A" scoring chances. When the Panthers made the playoffs under Kevin Dineen a couple of years ago, that was the system they played to perfection.
2) Jordan Caron having a pretty invisible night. He’s had four hits and has been a little noticeable with some physicality, but there’s hasn’t been much of an impact in the offensive end.
3) Five generated shot attempts and three registered hits for Shawn Thornton through two periods. It would seem like he has a little extra something in the tank tonight, doesn’t it?
4) Nice play by Kris Versteeg on a delayed penalty call in taking it to the net and shooting top corner from the right circle with Tomas Kopecky screening in front of the net. Versteeg mentioned this morning how much of a charge he still gets playing against his former team, and his goal serves as a reminder of a bad panic trade Peter Chiarelli made early in his B’s tenure. Brandon Bochenski was the return package for Versteeg and he didn’t last very long in Boston, or the NHL for that matter.
5) Kind of a quiet start to the season for Patrice Bergeron through almost six games. One has to wonder if he’s feeling completely 100 percent, or if he’s still working back to complete two-way excellence form. Nobody would blame him if that was the case, of course, but the Bruins don’t seem to playing at full efficiency through the first three weeks of the season.
Five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Panthers 2-0 after the first 20 minutes:
1) Tim Thomas looked pretty human in the first period. He was beaten cleanly over his right shoulder by a Daniel Paille shot from the wing, and then couldn’t track a Dougie Hamilton point shot through a Zdeno Chara screen in front of the net. The first goal should have been stopped, but the second is easily excused. There is no excuse for the abysmal defense being played in front of Thomas, which is one of the realities of playing in Florida. Another reality: Thomas isn’t the same guy after gaining some weight in his lower half and skipping training camp after sitting out all of last season. He just doesn’t look very good.
2) Clearly Dougie Hamilton is ready to respond after drawing back into the lineup for the first time in three games. The rookie defenseman led the Bruins with four shots on net and potted the team’s second goal of the night with a blast from the high center point. This is what the Bruins lose when Hamilton is out of the lineup: a presence that can create offense from the point spot on the power play.
3) The Bruins snapped an 0-for-12 stretch on the power play with the Hamilton strike in the third period. It was only a matter of time given the chances they’ve been able to generate on the man advantage, and give credit to Claude Julien for making the right call in getting Hamilton back into the lineup to aid the man advantage.
4) Brad Marchand started the game with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson, but then was pulled right off for the very next shift. He continued to struggle in the first period tonight with turnovers and weak plays on his stick in the defensive zone against a Florida team primed for the beating. No shots and pretty much no nothing in 5:22 of ice time. It might officially be time to start getting concerned about what’s up with Marchand.
5) The Paille strike was the first point of the season for the Merlot Line. Surprising that it took six games for it to happen, but Paille looks like he’s skating with a little extra gusto tonight. Maybe Tim Thomas wasn’t nice to him when they played together?