Rask, Lucic lead Bruins over Florida, 4-0

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Rask, Lucic lead Bruins over Florida, 4-0

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Dennis Wideman made his return to Boston Thursday night, but Tuukka Rask and Milan Lucic kept him and his Florida Panthers from getting the last laugh.

Wideman was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, and Horton picked up three assists on the night, including what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the first period.

But it was both Rask and Lucic who won the game for the B's. Rask made 41 saves in picking up his first win of the season, while Lucic scored the first three Bruins goals in the 4-0 win.
"It feels good. It feels good to not let your team down 'cause we are on a winning streak now, and keep that thing going," said Rask. "But it'sjust a win, though. Not the first gameI've won with the Bruins, but it feels good."

Lucic gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first period, after he took a Horton drop pass in the right circle, cut out front and wristed a laser past Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun that hit the top-right corner of the post and went in.

He made it 2-0 by sniping the top-left corner from the right circle on a 2-on-1 with 5:18 left in the third period. He picked up the hat trick by putting in the rebound off of a Patrice Bergeron miss, just 15 seconds later.

Shawn Thornton made it 4-0 with 3:54 left in regulation to finish things off.GOLD STAR: Got to give it to Tuukka Time taking its first starring role of the season. Nobody would have predicted that it could have taken five-plus weeks for Tuukka Rask to record his first win of the season, but there it is. Rask finished with 41 saves and managed to avoid any of the funky bounces or strange goals that seemed to bite at him in his five other previous efforts. He again looked like the calm, confident phenom that dominated through long stretches of last season.BLACK EYE: Claude Julien joked after the game that David Booth's arms were going to be sore on Friday after hoisting 14 shots on net from all over the ice, and seemed intent on trying to beat the Bruins all by himself. He finished a minus-2 on the night, and Booth, Stephen Weiss and Cory Stillman all were badly outplayed by the B's "heavy" line.TURNING POINT: Protecting a 1-0 lead, the Bruins took a couple of penalties in the second period and allowed Florida several opportunities to get back into the game. But the B's penalty killers killed off both Panthers' power plays and Boston ended up snuffing out all five Panthers power plays over the course of the win. The kills, and Tuukka Rask, ended up setting the tracks for the third=period explosion that turned into Milan Lucics crazy fedora party.BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of goals for Milan Lucic this season, which is one more than he had all of last season and now leads the Bruins. To put it in perspective, Lucic is tied with Alex Ovechkin in goals scored this season and appears to be well on his way toward ascending to another level of hockey stardom this season.QUOTE TO NOTE: "Rask keeps an upbeat attitude the whole time. Hes happy for what's going on here. He doesn't put himself ahead of anyone. So we talked before the game that we wanted to get one for him." Shawn Thornton, talking about the team pulling together to get Tuukka Rask his first win of the season.INJURY UPDATE: Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot with his left leg in the first period and left the ice shortly, but returned and played the rest of the game. Shawn Thornton had his nose bloodied after fighting Darcy Hordichuk, but finished out the game and appeared to be fine postgame aside from spitting a little blood. But thats nothing to a hockey player.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
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Bruins fall into second wild-card spot as Leafs win again

Bruins fall into second wild-card spot as Leafs win again

Things went about as badly as they could have for the Bruins on Wednesday night, resulting in them waking up Thursday morning as the second wild-card team . . . and just a couple of missteps from being out of the playoff structure entirely.

The Toronto Maple Leafs took down the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, and the New York Islanders came back to beat the New York Rangers, 3-2, so both teams gained ground on the idle B’s. Toronto has passed the Bruins by a point for third place in the Atlantic Division with a game still in hand, and the Isles are just two points behind the Bruins while also holding a game in hand.

According to Hockey Reference’s web site the Bruins still have a 78.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, but that number dropped significantly from where it was prior to the back-to-back losses to Toronto and Ottawa earlier this week.

The Bruins remain very much in control of their destiny, but they need wins against Tampa Bay on Thursday and (especially) against the Isles in Brooklyn this weekend.

All of this is because the Bruins have hit their first bump under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, a three-game losing streak that eroded the playoff cushion they enjoyed over the teams chasing them. It's raised some blood-pressure levels locally, since the B’s have missed the playoffs in each of the last two years due to late season collapses (going 3-8-1 in their final 12 games last year, and losing 9 of their final 14 two years ago).

“You have to obviously look forward. [You] definitely don’t dwell on the past and don’t look at the past two years,” said Patrice Bergeron following the loss to Ottawa on Tuesday night. “It’s not even something we should think about at this point. It’s about us finding ways and us obviously being better and finding ways to win games. We’re playing good hockey, but not good enough to get the result.”
 
They'll attempt to get back on track tonight against the Lightning, who come to town just five points behind Boston and also badly in need of a win as they're riding their own three-game losing streak.

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

BOSTON – Having lost three games in a row for the first time under Bruce Cassidy at time of year when you can’t drop into losing streaks, Bruins fans clearly want some sense of surety when it comes to the B’s making the playoffs.

Well, they got an ironclad guarantee from Torey Krug after he was the best B’s player on the ice in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Krug has been a part of the teams that collapsed in each of the past two seasons and the puck-moving defenseman said things are going to be different this time around with nine games to go.

“I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t talked about it. It’s a different feeling this year. [A collapse] is not going to happen this year. I know we’ve got a lot of pride in this room,” said Krug, who elevated his game and scored on a nifty, Bobby Orr-esque one-man rush up the ice in the third period. He also had a team-high seven shots on net and led the B’s in ice time in the loss. “The guys that have been through it. There’s no other option except making sure we stay on course and take care and do our jobs.

“You feel like you played pretty well and things didn’t go your way. You make a big mistake and it cost you. You got to realize what’s done is done, and we have an important task on Thursday [vs. the Lightning]. We’ve got to come to the rink with no other option except winning that game. That’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”

The Black and Gold are still in a pretty good position when it comes to the playoffs, even if their lead over Toronto in the Atlantic Division is precarious right now. But it ultimately comes down to Boston summoning against Tampa Bay and the Islanders what they didn’t, or couldn’t, against Toronto and Ottawa, and making good on Krug’s defiant words following a bitter defeat.