Blake Wheeler notched the only score in yesterday’s shootout to lift his Boston Bruins past the Florida Panthers 3-2 at the BankAtlantic Center. Wheeler lost control at first while trying to deke Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, regaining control to fire one in off the right post to solidify the victory. “The puck went where I wanted it to go, but I just kind of didn’t have the handle I wanted to on it,” said Wheeler. “It just kind of snuck off my stick there. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, right?”
Tim Thomas came up with 32 saves for Boston, shutting down the Panthers attack in all three shootout attempts in the end. “We had opportunities at different points in the game to extend the one-goal lead to two, some point-blank chances. And Thomas either made a save or we just missed,” said Florida coach Pete DeBoer. “You let a team like that hang around, that’s what happens.”
After a defensive heavy first period the Panthers outscored Boston 2-1 in the second. David Krejci found the net 10:35 in the third block for his second goal of the night, eventually setting the stage for Wheeler and Thomas to deliver in the end. The Bruins are set to matchup with the Lightning, Thrashers, Sabres and Maple Leafs on the road this week before returning to the TD Garden to host the Minnesota Wild Thursday, January 3rd. Boston Bruins tickets are now available!
Marco Sturm scored the go-ahead goal 4:39 into the final period to help his Boston Bruins win over the Florida Panthers 2-1 Monday at BankAtlantic Center. The 19-11-7 Bruins have now won three straight and sit just five points behind the Buffalo Sabres in the Northeast Division. “It was just a matter of time. Our team is starting to gel a little bit,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’ve had some new faces in our line-up, but I think we’re starting to understand the concept of what we’re looking for and just try to keep getting better.”
Dominic Moore scored the initial goal for the Panthers 4:09 into the first period. Michael Ryder tied it up in the second before Sturm took care of business in the end. Tim Thomas came up with 25 saves for Boston. The Bruins are next scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight before matching up with the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday. They will then give the outdoors a try at Fenway Park against the Philadelphia Flyers for the annual NHL Winter Classic New Year’s Day.
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It took a shootout for Florida Panthers Cory Stillman to score the only goal yesterday at the TD Garden, leaving the Boston Bruins with nothing to show for their 40 shot attempts on goalie Tomas Vokoun. Tim Thomas also had quite the performance in last night’s defensive showcase, holding the Panthers scoreless in regulation with 23 saves.
Despite their hard fought efforts, Thomas and the Bruins couldn’t help but share a bitter feeling after the disappointing loss. “We deserved the two points,” said Thomas. “They got some chances, but we got more. It is a little easier to take knowing that we won the last two.”
Forward Milan Lucic returned to practice on Thursday morning since breaking his right index finger mid-October. The B’s are scheduled for a tough matchup on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Following their stay in PA they’ll head back to Boston and host the New York Islanders on Monday, November 16th.
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On Tuesday night the Boston Bruins looked to get out of their 2-week-long, 1-4-2 slump. A tough overtime loss to Philly was followed by a 2-5 drubbing by Western Conference leader San Jose. A rough 1-3-1 road trip, including two tough losses in Florida. Boston took full advantage of an opportunity to get a bit of revenge on the Panthers.
The Bruins came out firing on all cylinders, getting on the board after just 48 seconds with an unassisted Patrice Bergeron goal. Mark Stuart put in a Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler assist to give the B’s an early 2-0 lead. Despite a Kamil Kreps goal later in the first, the Panthers would never manage to hold a lead.
Rookie Byron Bitz scored two consecutive goals late in the 2nd and early in the 3rd. Bitz was playing in his 20th career game for the black and gold, and got the crowd fired up. “Couple times in college—but 20,000 people’s different than 4,000, so it was pretty cool” Bitz told the AP. Though he missed the hat trick, Bitz enjoyed his success on the ice. “It would have been nice if it worked out but it?s not that big a deal”.
Aaron Ward and Michael Ryder each added a goal to put the game way out of reach for Florida. The Bruins will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night at 7:00pm.
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Recap – Center Olli Jokinen had a great first half of the NHL season for the Florida Panthers (23 goals, 24 assists), but recently Florida newspapers are reporting the idea of a trade for the team captain. Panthers fan are anxious for something to happen that may help jump start the team, but this is not the right move to make. The situation is reminiscent of when the Boston Bruins traded away their former captain Joe Thornton, and the franchise struggled after the deal. You simply can not trade away that type of leadership in the middle of a season.
2nd Half – The Panthers are currently only 4 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In March they play 9 of 12 games at home, but all of this will not matter if they trade Jokinen. As sad as it may be for ‘Cats’ fan, the move will probably be made by the end of the week, and the last two months may be painful to watch.
Team Name: Florida Panthers
Southeast Division Standing: 4th place
Conference Standing: 12th place
Final Predictions: 5th in Southeast Division, 15th in Eastern Conference
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