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Bruins Pummel Panthers, Head Into Christmas Break With Win Streak Intact

You didn't need to ask Bruins head coach Claude Julien what his favorite moment from the Bruins win over the Florida Panthers Friday night was. If you did, he wouldn't tell you anyway.

But it wasn't for lack of options.

Brad Marchand netted his first career hat trick, Benoit Pouliot scored a goal that's earmarked for the season highlights video and the Bruins cruised to an 8-0 win over the Panthers Friday night in front of 17,565 at TD Garden, many of whom spent the latter two periods chanting "Merry Christmas". The win extended Boston's current streak to six games, and the Bruins are 20-2-1 since the calendar turned to November.

It didn't start well for Boston, which came out sloppy in all three zones, but right when things appeared to turn for the worse, the penalty kill got to work.

Gregory Campbell went off for high-sticking at 5:42 of the first period, and just 14 seconds later, an aggressive forecheck by Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead when Marchand floated a shot at the net that Jose Theodore couldn't handle.

Theodore hadn't lost in ten decisions against the Bruins, and had stonewalled Boston on December 8th in a game that Florida won, 2-0.

Neither game was indicative of the actual disparity between the two teams.

"That's an old fashioned butt kicking," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. "I got nothing tonight. I have nothing to say. I'm always the glass half full type of guy; tonight there's nothing from our goaltenders to our defense.

"We got our tails handed to us, there's no excuse."

Save for the fact that the Panthers were missing seven forwards from its normal rotation and playing its second game in two nights after an overtime loss in Ottawa on Thursday, anyway.

The Bruins were just about as shell-shocked.

"Pretty crazy, right?" Pouliot said when asked about the fact that his team now has nine six-goal games in its first 33 contests of the season.

After Ed Jovanovski went for roughing, the Bruins power play continued to build momentum with a tap-in goal by Milan Lucic, but the first two weren't the goals that Julien wanted to talk about.

"We've been trying to get better on 4-on-4," the coach said after the game, and his team did just that Friday night, scoring two four-on-four goals in a matter of 31 seconds to close out the first period.

"Those were our first two four-on-four goals of the season," and they set the tone for the rest of the night. Florida was within shooting range at 2-0, but a tired, depleted team trying to come back from four goals down after having already played 85 minutes in the last 25 hours is no easy task.

Tuukka Rask played a solid game, stopping all 30 shots that he saw to extend his shutout streak to 155:10, notching consecutive-start shutouts for the first time in his career. After the game, he was quick to praise the defense in front of him for forcing a tired Florida team to the outside and not giving them any good looks at the net.

"I don't think they had too many scoring chances today, no," Rask allowed.

Playing without Rich Peverley, the Bruins got goals from each of their offensive lines, including four from the Patrice Bergeron line, and Dennis Seidenberg chipped one in as well - his first goal in 33 games.

"What do you mean?" he quipped after being told postgame that he wasn't known for his offensive talent.

It was the kind of game that you see very rarely in the NHL these days, but it couldn't be a better way for Boston to head into the holiday break, which gives them three days off before heading to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes.

"Rest up and drink some beer," Pouliot said when asked what he and his teammates had planned.