Sunday, February 24, 2013
Observations: Bruins 4, Panthers 1
By James Murphy
The Bruins completed the Sunshine State sweep Sunday with a 4-1 win over the Panthers that propelled them back into a tie with the Senators for second place in the Northeast Division. The Bruins have now won three straight and are 3-1-0 on their current five-game road trip that ends on Long Island Tuesday against the Islanders.
Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 34 saves.
Tomas Kopecky had the lone goal for Florida and Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves.
Special teams playing major roles in wins: Usually when we talk about special teams playing a role in a Bruins win, it’s the penalty kill that is getting all the love, but suddenly both the penalty kill and the power play are playing major roles in winning. The Bruins went 1-for-1 on the power play Sunday and have now scored on the man-advantage in four of their last five games. Meanwhile, the penalty kill continued its dominance, killing off all four Panthers power plays including four straight minutes late in the second and early in the third. They have now killed 21 straight power plays. And for frosting on the cake, Daniel Paille got them their second shorthanded goal of the season.
Kelly gets first goal: Under some scrutiny recently for his lack of offensive production, Chris Kelly finally got the monkey off his back and scored his first goal of the season. After lighting the lamp 20 times last season, expectations were high for the Bruins' third-line center, but he was unable to find the back of the net until 15 games in this season. Hopefully for Boston, he's found his groove now and will start chipping in.
Chara spinarama: Zdeno Chara’s goal Sunday turned out to be the game-winner, but it may best be remembered later on as the goal of the year for the Bruins. Simply put, it was a thing of beauty. The Bruins captain took a nice backhanded pass from Brad Marchand just inside the blue line, spun around, then cut in toward the net and roofed a backhander past Markstrom. For such a large player to pull off such a move shows just how skilled Chara is.
Seguin’s best game of the season? Another player under heavy scrutiny so far this season has been Tyler Seguin. After leading the team in goals (29) and points (67) last season, Seguin hasn’t been on the score sheet often in 2013. But with an assist Sunday, Seguin now has points in four straight games, with a goal and three assists. But the reason this may have been his best game thus far was because he played the two-way style head coach Claude Julien wants from him, and made his presence felt at both ends of the ice. Before he helped set up Chara’s goal, he kept the Panthers from tying the game at one by getting to the puck just before it crossed the goal line and swatting it out with his stick.
Rask continues to shine: After getting the win in Tampa Bay on Thursday Tuukka Rask got the nod again and was huge for the Bruins, especially in the third period when the Panthers stepped up the pressure and out-shot the Bruins 16-5. Rask looked a bit shaky in the first period Thursday, but since then has been stellar with almost perfect positioning.
Missed call? First off, let's acknowledge that being an NHL referee is difficult and thankless. But for Chris Lee and Mike Hasenfratz not to at least give two minutes to Mike Weaver for what appeared to be a dangerous and dirty hit from behind on Milan Lucic late in the second period was either a really bad missed call or a disregard for the increased emphasis on safety in the NHL. Then to hand Lucic 14 minutes (two minors and a ten-minute major) in penalties was just salt in the wound.
Roster remains the same: After their 4-2 win at Tampa Bay, coach Claude Julien didn’t see the need for change and kept the lineup intact. That meant Lane MacDermid, Jay Pandolfo and Aaron Johnson remained healthy scratches. Here’s what the forward lines and defensive pairings looked like:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton(
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin(
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley(
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk(
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
(Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid