Boston, MA – Florida's Nathan Horton scored just 22 seconds into overtime to send the Boston Bruins to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Panthers. Alex Auld, who made 31 saves, was outstanding in goal for Boston, but Florida's Craig Anderson made 40 saves to earn the victory.
Looking to recover from Monday night’s defeat in Washington, the Bruins returned to the TDBanknorth Garden to face the Panthers.
“You couldn’t ask for a better scenario than this after what happened to us last night,” said head coach Claude Julien after practice this morning. “Let’s get back on our horses, and let’s get back to working. Let’s turn this thing around as quick as possible.”
Preparing for the second game in as many nights, their second of five in seven days, Coach Julien was looking for his team to rebound.
“The beauty of it is [we] have an opportunity to bounce back tonight,” he explained. “If [we] do that, then [we] get [ourselves] back on track and start refocusing on the positive things.”
While the team didn’t earn a win, Coach Julien saw a step in the right direction.
“It was better,” he said, simply. “We’re going to have to work our way back into that groove and understand that we are a successful team because we commit to good things.”
Auld, back in goal after a 23-minute stint last night, got the crowd going with solid saves that kept the Panthers at bay through the first period.
A penalty to David Booth for interference with 7:55 left in the first gave the B’s the man advantage, and while they took several shots, Florida goalie Craig Anderson let none go by.
A scrum ensued around the Bruins net while Glen Metropolit served a holding penalty at 15:22, but Auld clamped down on the puck before anyone could get it past him.
Rostislav Olesz hit the bench at 16:03 for interference, and play went to four-on-four, followed by a short power play for the B’s, but the game still remained scoreless.
Mark Stuart received a penalty for cross-checking at 19:10 after a hard hit to Booth behind the B’s goal.
As the buzzer sounded, the game remained tied at zero, with both teams’ shot counts nearly even. The Panthers had 15, while Boston had 13.
“I think we had a lot of shots, but we just couldn’t seem to capitalize on the really good opportunities we had,” said Glen Murray.
Both teams still had yet to score through nearly half of the second period when Anderson snatched a shot right out of the air with 12:11 left to shut the B’s down once more.
Auld did the same with a nice body stop at 10:25.
Joy Bouwmeester pulled down Vladimir Sobotka, sending Anderson spinning on his back and drawing a hooking penalty with 1:28 remaining.
Murray joined Bouwmeester in the box at 19:49 with another hooking penalty.
But try as they might, neither team could get the puck to meet the net, and the game remained scoreless after 40 minutes.
“Both teams were getting their shots, and both goaltenders played well,” said Stuart, “but I think both teams were doing well enough defensively where the shots weren’t great chances.”
With18:36 to go, a loose puck narrowly missed the Bruins net, sliding into the post and bouncing away from the goal.
Shots by Metropolit and Dennis Wideman, all about five minutes into the final period, once again narrowly missed the net thanks to some fancy work by Anderson.
A penalty to Metropolit for tripping with 12:36 remaining elicited many boos from the crowd. A breakaway shot by Marco Sturm on the ensuing penalty kill was, once again, blocked by Anderson.
That same penalty kill, however, stayed strong and kept Florida from scoring for the two minutes.
Auld made a high-fly catch, more common on a baseball field than a hockey rink, with 6:47 left off a shot from Florida’s Magnus Johansson.
Marc Savard went into the box for slashing at 14:36, but another strong B’s penalty kill kept the Panthers off the board.
Booth sat out once more for an interference penalty at 16:30, and, with just 1:04 remaining, Auld made a key save on a shot by Stephen Weiss that sent the game into overtime still tied at zero.
Horton's goal at the 22-second mark ended the game.
“He used our D smartly as a screen,” Auld said. “He got that shot through and was able to bounce it off of him. It was just a tough play.”
After two losses in a row, Coach Julien insisted that his club needs to get back to basics.
“We’re a good team, but we aren’t so good that we can just rely on going out there and playing,” he said. “We’re good because we are a dedicated group together, we’re in sync, we work well together, and we commit to doing the things it takes to win.
“The minute we stop doing that, we become a very ordinary hockey club.”