The Bruins brief dry spell is now a distant memory, as they won their third straight game, beating Florida 4-0 tonight.
Tuukka Rask started in net for the Bruins, and was sharper than a Hattori Hanzo sword throughout. Tuukka turned 41 Panther shots aside, including 14 from David Booth, who was Herculean in a losing effort. He was truly beaten on just one shot, a sweet wrister from Jason Garrison that rang the post.
Milan Lucic opened the scoring, as the Bruins picked up the puck in their own zone in transition. Looch passed to Nathan Horton, who, when defenders collapsed on him, passed it off to Lucic, who beat Tomas Vokoun to make it 1-0.
Shortly after that, Shawn Thornton and Darcy Hordichuk engaged in a tremendous brawl, with fists being thrown every which way. Easily the Bruins' best fight of the season, surpassing the sweet Mark Stuart/Cody McCormick fight. (For the record, I scored the fight a draw. It looked like Hordichuk may have drawn blood, but Thornton left the Panther brawler with a wicked shiner.)
The Panthers had the run of play through most of the first two periods, despite being down on the scoreboard. The game was, if you can believe it, much closer than the score indicated for most of the game. The Bruins were frequently plagued by undisciplined play, as they gave the Panthers five power plays. However, the Panthers had precious few good scoring chances on those.
In the third period, the run of play turned. The Panthers looked better through most of the first two, but the third was dominated by the B's. At 14:42 of the third, Lucic scored his second of the game. Much like his first, it came in transition; Andrew Ference got it out to Horton, who got it to Lucic, who ripped it over Vokoun's glove side.
At this point, Florida's defense, which had played fairly well, started getting sloppy, and taking chances, and just 15 seconds later, he made it a natural hat trick. As the Panthers were pressing, Patrice Bergeron and Horton gained the puck in the Florida zone, and Horton took a shot that was stopped by Vokoun, but Lucic scooped up the rebound to make it 3-0 and all but put the game on ice.
I had prepared a "Milan Lucic 3, State of Florida 0" headline, but alas, Shawn Thornton spoiled that 1:09 later with his fourth of the year. Thornton took a shot on goal that deflected off a Florida defenseman and got by Vokoun. Tyler Seguin was crashing the net at the time, but the puck did not go off him. The final margin was 4-0.
- Dennis Wideman made his "triumphant" return to Boston. Wideman was a -2 and was booed by Bruins fans at most every opportunity. In other words, it was pretty much like every game he played from October 2009 to March 2010.
- Mark Recchi was 5-0 on faceoffs, but Blake Wheeler was 4-8. Maybe the wrong guy is centering the second line.
- Johnny Boychuk returned to action after being out with an arm injury. Boychuk was on the third pair with Matt Hunwick and was generally a non-factor.
- Zdeno Chara was a +3, but it must be said; he had some poor plays, and was bailed out big time by Tuukka on a couple of occasions.
- Nathan Horton had three assists, and Thornton was an assist from the coveted Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
- Dikembe Seidenberg Watch: just two blocked shots (Mark Stuart led the team with three), no "who wants to sex Seidenberg?" references or propositions. As far as I know.
- Your three stars: Rask (1st), Lucic (2nd), Horton (3rd).
- Maybe I missed a news item, but is the whole team growing mustaches? And if so, did Seguin and Rask miss the memo? I shouldn't throw stones in glass houses; since I can't grow a 'stache worth anything.
- For more on this game, jump over to Litter Box Cats. If nothing else, you can get a great front page photo of Hordichuk's black eye.
- The Bruins will host the Kings Saturday night before beginning a tour of the Southeast Division.