Marc Savard negotiates the situation. (Getty)
Sunrise, FL -- The Boston Bruins held on to defeat the streaking Panthers, 4-3, and break a four game Florida win streak Thursday night in the Bank Atlantic Center. B's captain Zdeno Chara scored two power play goals to pace the winners, who will shift their camp to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning on Saturday evening.
"I thought that in the first period we came out strong," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "The second period we were good, but not as good as in the first.
"And in the third we didn't capitalize on the chances that we had and got a little sloppy."
Prior to the game, the Bruins traveled to Sunrise in the hopes of continuing their winning ways and adding to their playoff point total against an Eastern Conference foe, but they came in banged up.
Beyond the long term loss of Patrice Bergeron, the injuries to Andrew Ference, Manny Fernandez and Shawn Thornton, Boston got some good news when defenseman Andrew Alberts returned to the B's lineup after being put to the ice with a questionable hit on Monday against Philly. However, rookie forward Milan Lucic (who was dinged up against the Islanders last week) was scratched, giving fellow rookie Vladimir Sobotka another chance in the lineup.
B's winger Jeremy Reich, Boston's community beat cop, got things going for Boston when he manhandled Panthers pugilist Garth Murray, and landed several heavy punches behind the Florida goal.
Then, on the power play, Chara put the Black & Gold up, 1-0, when he finished off a fantastic pass play by Marc Savard and Marco Sturm at 10:11.
Panthers captain Olli Jokinen tries to set a screen in front of the net in the Cats game against the Boston Bruins. (Getty Images)
Although they did not score again, the B's did dominate much of the initial stanza and outshot Florida 17-6. Panthers goalie Craig Anderson was instrumental in keeping his club in the game and was the best player in the first 20 minutes.
Sensing perhaps that the Panthers were buoyed by Anderson's fine play in the opening frame, Boston came out of the dressing room with their collective hair on fire. As a result, Glen Metropolit gathered the rebound off defenseman Aaron Ward's shot and shoveled it past the surprised Anderson to make it 2-0, Boston.
Unfortunately for the Boston fans sprinkled into the crowd, including Dropkick Murphys security guy Billy Dailey, the Panthers countered quickly and on the power play, Steve Montador beat a screened Thomas, five hole, at 2:49.
Thomas settled in, however, and as the Panthers game came together the veteran netminder stood tall.
Speaking of tall, Chara scored his second of the game and third of the season at 16:24 on the power play to make the score 3-1.
"We got some goals on the power play," said Chara. "That was the key for us."
Boston finished the second period leading in shots 27 to 16.
At the beginning of the third, a veteran hockey voice in the Boston section of the press box said, "The next five minutes will tell the outcome of the game."
And at 4:57 of the third stanza, Boston super soph Phil Kessel scored his eighth goal of the season when he sent a guided missile over the shoulder of the Florida goalie. It was a spectacular score that became Boston's eventual game-winner and made the score 4-1 to give the B's command of the scoreboard and, eventually, the game.
Tampa's David Booth scored what looked-like a garbage-time goal late in the period to make the score, 4-2, at 17:41. Then, Panther's captain Olli Jokinen added another at 19:30 to make it very interesting for the visitors, who held on for the victory.
'We're happy with the win," said Chara. "But we are not satisfied with the ending."
1 - 0 BOS
2 - 0 BOS
2 - 1 BOS
3 - 1 BOS
4 - 1 BOS
4 - 2 BOS
4 - 3 BOS