What we learned in Bruins' 4-0 win over Panthers
Falling out of the playoff picture apparently provides the Bruins with motivation for a winning performance. The Bruins were out of the playoffs when the team collectively woke up on Saturday morning, and the Maple Leafs had bypassed them for the third and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. With every other team in the Atlantic Division holding games in hand against the Bruins, that’s not a good thing at all. Facing a Florida team that the Bruins have dominated all season, Boston was able to survive an early Panthers flurry on the way to a dominant 4-0 shutout victory. The Bruins forwards were fighting to get to the front of the net, Tuukka Rask was brilliant and Boston’s special teams work was stellar with a shorthanded goal, a power play strike and some solid penalty killing work. Two of Boston’s best players, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand, gave star performances, and both Torey Krug and David Backes were strong performers as well. While Saturday night’s effort was commendable and absolutely needed, it also makes you wonder why it’s not there more of the team given how Boston plays when they’re back into a corner as they were on Saturday night at the start of a crucial four game road trip. It will be interesting to see if the Bruins can conjure up that same kind of urgency and importance to Sunday afternoon’s tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes when the B’s players wake up on Sunday morning and find themselves in second place rather than fourth place in just a day’s time. The second place position is a bit of an illusion given the games played for all teams, but it’s still gives the Bruins a reason to take their foot off the gas pedal against a Carolina team that’s routinely given them trouble.