SUNRISE, FL – It didn’t look particularly promising for the Bruins headed into Tuesday night’s game in Florida, and it looked even less so when the availability of Patrice Bergeron was called into question after he missed morning skate.
But Bergeron answered the bell when it mattered against the Panthers on Tuesday night, and the Bruins bounced back from a poor first period to a 2-1 win over Florida at the BB&T Center behind another strong effort from Tuukka Rask. Now the Bruins have won two games in a row while scoring a grand total of three goals after allowing 14 goals in their previous three games, all losses, so the goaltending and defense have clearly tightened up.
The B’s netminder stopped 33 shots to improve his record to 5-0-0 on the season, and was at his best early in the game when the Bruins were getting outshot 13-3 in the first period while struggling to get the puck out of their own end. He also helped the Bruins withstand a late barrage from the Panthers in the closing minutes.
The Bruins held a lead after one period, however, on the strength of a successful Brad Marchand penalty shot that probably gave Roberto Luongo nightmares about the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Marchand went in looking to go forehand, got Bobby Lou to drop down and then flipped a backhanded bid up high before shrugging his shoulders like it was no big deal.
Marchand’s fourth goal of the season snapped a four game goalless streak for the left winger, and gave the Black and Gold a little margin for error after the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins bounced back with a much improved second period, and added to the lead with a Dominic Moore shorthanded strike that was upheld by video review. The Moore shot bounced off one post and then quickly ricocheted out of the net after hitting the top of the netting, but it was clear on replay that the fourth line center had his third goal of the season.
The rest was up to Rask and a Bruins penalty killing unit that had its work cut out for them by a bevy of penalties in the second and third period as the undermanned Bruins held tightly to their modest lead.