Talking Points: Bruins 5, Panthers 2

Talking Points: Bruins 5, Panthers 2
March 9, 2014, 11:15 pm
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GOLD STAR: Andrej Meszaros made his first impression with the Bruins an excellent one. The new trade acquisition sat for the first two games, but then excelled when slotted in with Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman pairing for the Black and Gold. Meszaros became the first Bruins defenseman to score in his first game with the team since Sergei Gonchar 10 years ago with a power-play rifle shot in the first period. He finished second among Bruins with 20:36 of ice time. Meszaros led the Bruins with six shots on net in a decidedly un-Kaberle-like performance, and generated nine shot attempts while making use of his full set of skills. There should be plenty of competition for the defenseman spots moving forward after a performance like this.

BLACK EYE: Brian Campbell finished a minus-2 in 24:53 of ice time, and got absolutely schooled by Brad Marchand on a spin move before setting up Torey Krug as a trailer for a second period goal. Campbell continues to punch his clock with 25 minutes a night for the Florida Panthers while collecting a paycheck, but there seems to be little urgency or care to his game. Not that I blame him as the Panthers continue to go through the motions for the rest of the season. Dmitry Kulikov wasn’t much better for the Panthers as they were rescued by Roberto Luongo for two periods until the roof caved in for the final 20 minutes.

TURNING POINT: Jimmy Hayes scored his second goal of the game in the third period to close things to 3-2, but Jarome Iginla came right back 23 seconds later to finally dust off the Panthers. It was the 550th NHL goal of Iginla’s career and essentially iced the game for the Black and Gold in a wild third period where three goals were scored in 52 seconds. Roberto Luongo had held the Panthers in the game with two outstanding periods, but the roof truly caved in for the Panthers in the closing 20 minutes.

HONORABLE MENTION: Carl Soderberg only ended up with a single assist in the game, but was a huge factor for the Bruins in a continued stretch of excellent play for the Big Swede. He knocked down two bodies and screened Roberto Luongo on the goal for Andrej Meszaros, and then won three different one-on-one battles leading up to Patrice Bergeron’s game-winning goal in the third period. Swede now has six points in seven games for the Black and Gold, and looks like a different, more confident, more comfortable player since Soderberg was switched to center prior to the Olympic break.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 – the number of combined consecutive wins for the Bruins over the Panthers and the Lightning after the victory Sunday afternoon. Thanks, NHL realignment.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We could have looked like a tired team, but I saw a really determined team in the third period. It was good to see. Playing a second game 20 hours later and the pace we were able to play at, I was impressed with our team.” Claude Julien, who liked the effort from his team in a two-game sweep through Tampa Bay and Florida on back-to-back days.