<
>

Observations: Panthers 6, Bruins 2

3/18/2012

For the first time since January 2010, the Boston Bruins have lost four straight games. Boston was embarrassed once again in a 6-2 drubbing at the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Brian Campbell had three assists, Tomas Fleischmann had two helpers and Stephen Weiss and Mikael Samuelsson each had a goal and an assist to lead the Panthers. Brian Rolston and Joe Corvo scored for the Bruins.

The loss means the Bruins are just a single point ahead of Ottawa in the Northeast Division, with just one game in hand. Should the Bruins not be able to hold off the Senators, they drop all the way from the second seed in the playoffs to No. 7.

Another slow start for the Bruins: The Bruins fell behind 2-0 for the fourth straight game and had to play catch-up hockey all night. As coach Claude Julien has pointed out throughout this stretch, playing from behind prevents teams from playing their game and dictating the tone, and that was again the case Thursday. Though there were spurts where the Bruins seemed to find their game, they were still playing out of their element and forcing plays for too much of the time. That’s why three of the Panthers’ goals came from turnovers.

Thomas bad but defense worse: Tim Thomas once again struggled and looked tired, allowing six goals on 29 shots. But all the blame can’t be cast on him. There were plenty of screens in front of him and turnovers throughout the game as the Bruins defense was outmuscled and outworked again. What was once the team’s bread and butter has become their Achilles heel as the defense is out of sync on a regular basis.

“Ultimate Warrior” still shining through while team slumps: Patrice Bergeron is clearly the Bruins' MVP and their heart and soul, and that has never been more evident than during this recent skid. On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Bergeron battled through pain after blocking a shot but couldn’t finish the game. He then came back to play on Tuesday night only to take another shot off his foot and still finish that game. On Thursday, the ultimate warrior, as Julien now calls him, was playing through pain again. In all three games, Bergeron led his team in faceoff wins and was their best all-around player. He has been the lone bright spot in a dark time of the season.

Rolston blast from the past: Brian Rolston scored his first goal in his second stint as a Bruin Thursday and he scored it in a familiar spot. Rolston took a Zdeno Chara feed at the point on a third-period power play and ripped a slap shot past Panthers goalie Jose Theodore. Special teams was one of the reasons the Bruins acquired Rolston at the trade deadline, and they will need more production for him on the power play. Rolston also had an assist.

Corvo snaps goalless streak at 20 games: Defenseman Joe Corvo scored his first goal since Feb. 4, snapping a 20-game goalless streak. It was Corvo’s fourth goal of the season. Corvo’s defensive game wasn’t productive though as he was a minus-2 in 16:28 on ice.

Pouliot and McQuaid return; Julien puts Seguin back with Bergeron and Marchand: Forward Benoit Pouliot (lower body) and defenseman Adam McQuaid (undisclosed injury) returned to the lineup Thursday and Julien put Tyler Seguin back with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Jordan Caron took Seguin’s spot with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Pouliot had a strong return with an assist on Corvo’s goal. Here’s what the lineup looked like:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jordan Caron

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin

Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston

Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Joe Corvo-Dennis Seidenberg

Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas

Marty Turco