Boston, MA -- The Boston Bruins fell to the Florida Panthers, 6-3, Saturday night in the TD Banknorth Garden. Richard Zednik scored two goals to pace the visitors and the Panthers Tomas Vokoun made 38 saves to earn the victory.
"I think there’s not much good to be said about our performance tonight, because it wasn’t there," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "This was a game...that we needed, as much as we needed the game last night, but we didn’t respond."
The Bruins had a big 3-2 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres Friday night as they seemed to work through their recent offensive doldrums to score a pair of goals in the third period and then take the game with a shootout marker from Phil Kessel.
And to the delight of their fans in the Garden on Saturday night, the Bruins started quickly against the visiting Florida Panthers.
With Bryan Allen in the box for hooking, Boston captain Zdeno Chara beat Tomas Vokoun, on the power play, at 2:19 of the first session. B's forward Marco Sturm notched his 200th NHL assist on the play.
Following Chara's goal, the Black & Gold controlled play for most of the first period, but Florida forward Richard Zednik scored for the Panthers late in the period to tie the game, 1-1, at 13:11.
For the second time on the evening, Boston came out of the locker room on fire, and thanks to some hard work from David Krejci and P.J. Axelsson, Glen Murray scored at 2:46. It was Murray's 11th of the season, his first since returning from a hip flexor injury that kept him sidelined for 19 games and his first since December 12th in Atlanta.
Bruins left wing Marco Sturm (16) tries to get a shot off against Florida Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun (29) in the second period on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
"Obviously he’s been a great addition since he’s come back the last two games," said Julien of the Bruins brightest spot of the night. "He just creates that threat every time he’s on the ice, every time he’s in that slot area.
"They tend to pay a lot of attention to him.
"Either he gets his opportunity or he brings a lot of attention to him, which opens up a lot of other people," he said.
Zednik scored for the second time when he deflected a waist high rebound past B's goalie Tim Thomas at 11:08 to tie the game again.
"I have not been in too many like that this year. It was a weird game," said Thomas, who added, "As it went on, I felt less and less comfortable, which is not usually the way that it works.
"Usually you get into the game and get better as it goes on. It was kind of backwards...It might have started on Zednik’s second goal. I tipped it up, it went off his chest, off my blocker, and he batted it out of the air."
Boston's Kessel set up Sturm for a goal 12:40 to put the B's on top 3-2, but on the power play Florida's Olli Jokinen scored to re-tie the game at 16:23.
Just seconds later, Boston was unable to clear the zone on the ensuing set of plays and David Booth scored to make the game clock read 4-3 Florida at 16:37.
"I think I saw a team tonight, that for part of the [game], seemed to be focused on doing what they had to do to win a hockey game," said Julien. "We’re up, had the lead a couple of times and, instead of playing sound hockey, we decided...to not pay attention to detail."
Coming out of the second break, the Bruins looked to work some offensive magic early, but it was the Panthers who scored next as Nathan Horton was able to drive the Boston goal, and at 3:32 he beat Thomas to make the score 5-3.
At 12:05 Ville Peltonen scored Florida's sixth goal and cemented the win.
"We put all the odds in our favor as far as dealing with those back-to-back games the best way we could," said Coach Julien. "I think tonight, for me, it was more the focus.
"We had a great effort last night. I hoped, as a coach, that they were going to come back tonight and build on it and give that same kind of effort.
"If you want to be a team that’s going to be in the top eight, you are going to have to have those kind of games on a consistent basis, night after night. Not once every 2 or 3 nights. Right now we need to build some consistency in our wins."