The Boston Bruins will now see exactly what type of character and endurance this team has.
Since the B's have played only 14 games, which is the fewest in the NHL, they will now play 34 games in 63 days. This stretch began on Sunday afternoon when they took on the Florida Panthers.
This was the first of three meetings between the two teams. However, this was the only home match-up for the Panthers. For a team that is struggling as much as they are, a win at home against the Bruins was necessary.
The Bruins jumped out to an early lead in this game. Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara each had a goal in the opening period. What was interesting is that the Panthers had more scoring opportunities in the opening period than the Bruins. Unfortunately, they were only able to cash in on one of them when Tomas Kopecky banged in his fifth goal of the season.
In the second period, Chris Kelly recorded his first goal of the season on the power play. Although it was one of those goals where he was just in the right place at the right time, he needed this goal to break out of his slump.
The action was relatively quiet through the first two periods until the final few minutes. Lucic took a hit from behind by Mike Weaver that sent him head-first into the boards. Lucic responded on the non-call by cross-checking the Florida defenseman and received a double-minor penalty along with a 10-minute misconduct
Boston began the third period by successfully killing off the four-minute power play held by the Panthers. In what turned out to be a fast-moving third period, the Panthers did not have many scoring chances. Tuukka Rask held his line on the few opportunities Florida had to offer.
He finished with 34 saves in the 4-1 victory for the Bruins. Daniel Paille added an empty-net, short-handed goal late in the third period. Nine Bruins players recorded at least one point.
The Panthers actually looked good in this game. They played very physical in the neutral zone and matched the toughness of the Bruins. They could build on this loss and improve on their play. At the same time, the Bruins will take the win.
The Bruins will wrap up their road trip on Tuesday night when they travel to New York to take on the Islanders.
Gold Star: Daniel Paille...He is known for his defensive play and his penalty killing. When you can do that and put up two points at the same time, that is quite a game.
Black Star: Shawn Thornton...This was not his type of game to make an impact. With only eight minutes of ice time, he finished with a minus-1 rating in the game.