Cats Scratched: Rask Backs Bruins to Hard-Fought Two Points

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 16: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammates after scoring a first period goal against the Florida Panthers on January 16, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Good hockey teams don't always win games that they deserve to. Great hockey teams do.

So, too, do great hockey teams sometimes win games that they don't deserve to.

David Krejci followed up Patrice Bergeron's shootout marker with one of his own, and Tuukka Rask earned the two points in spite of a gaffe in the shootout that nearly cost Boston a point.

Bergeron had two goals for Boston, but it was Shawn Matthias' game that kept Florida around long enough to give the Panthers a chance.


After a first period that saw the Panthers record 12 shots to the Bruins' just six, Boston's offense picked up to start the second period, and Tyler Seguin put an emphatic punctuation on a 5-on-3 chance, touring the offensive zone and finding Bergeron at the net for the center's second goal of the game.

But Matthias got behind Andrew Ference coming out of the box as his delay of game penalty ended, and he neatly deposited the puck between the legs of Rask and into the Boston net, tying the game at two.

The two teams spent the last third of the game trading chances in an environment that pretty quickly resembled that of a playoff game. Florida's forecheck kept Boston on its toes, but Tuukka Rask held his crease and didn't give the Panthers any easy chances, including forcing Michal Repik wide on a breakaway with just one minute remaining in the game.

But despite Bergeron's otherwise stellar play, it was a hook by the Bruins' assistant captain that put the Panthers on the power play just 36 seconds into overtime. The Bruins killed the penalty, but not without having what little wind left in their sales taken away.

With overtime winding down, Kris Versteeg got behind the Boston defense and got a breakaway - Florida's fourth of the game - but Rask stopped him cold and the extra five minutes ended.

The Bruins first shootout since they lost to Detroit on Black Friday saw the Black and Gold on the verge of another defeat after Stephen Weiss deked Rask and scored on an empty net with the third Panthers attempt of the game, but it was Bergeron who scored to keep the Bruins alive, and Krejci - whose 11-game point streak ended at the close of overtime - beat Scott Clemmensen five-hole to get Boston a barely-earned two points.

Notes:

Rask made 38 saves for Boston. Clemmensen, playing in Jose Theodore's stead, made 33 saves, but let the last two pucks he saw past him...After going 2-6 in shootouts in 2010-11, the Bruins are 4-0 in the skills competition this year.

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