Talking Points: Tuukka Rask stands tall vs. Panthers
Tuukka Rask is now 5-0-0 on the season and has all five of Boston’s wins, and everything has been right in the world when he’s healthy and ready to go. Rask stopped 33-of-34 shots and was at his best at the beginning and end of the one-goal victory for the Bruins. He stopped all 13 shots in the first period when the Bruins were badly outplayed, and handed a number of Grade A scoring chances to the Panthers attackers. Then he was just as solid in the final 20 minutes with Florida throwing everything at the net as the Bruins took penalties that allowed the Panthers chances to get back into the game. He made 13 saves in the third period as well to take the much-needed win for the Bruins.
Vincent Trocheck is an excellent young player for the Panthers, but he wasn’t at his best on Tuesday night for Florida. He finished a minus-1 as part of the Panthers PP unit on the ice when Dominic Moore scored his shorthanded goal, and had four giveaways in his 20 plus minutes of ice time to go along with a couple of shot on net. It was Trocheck along with several other Panthers players that couldn’t break through early in the game when they had their chances, and allowed the Bruins to gather an unlikely lead early while gaining strength as things went on.
The turning point for the Bruins was surviving the first period when they couldn’t execute a simple pass to get the puck out of their own zone, and were outshot by a 13-3 margin during that time. It would have been understandable if the B’s were down by a goal or two at that point in time, but instead they took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Brad Marchand scored the fourth penalty shot of his career. The turn of events after 20 minutes seemed to serve as frustration for a Panthers team coming off a so-so road trip, and emboldened the Bruins to be much better in the second period. Once they were through the rocky opening period, it was going to be tough to derail the Bruins.
Dominic Moore now has three goals on the season, and only David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand have scored more than him among Bruins players. Moore had a typically solid game with a couple of shots on net and he won 6-of-12 face-offs, but it was the bad angle short-handed strike he got past Roberto Luongo in the second period that really won the game for Boston in the end. It felt like the Panthers were eventually going to score in Tuesday night’s game, and they needed that special teams insurance on a night where the penalty kill was firing on all cylinders.
BY THE NUMBERS
4 – the number of successful penalty shot goals in Brad Marchand’s career, which gives him the all-time Bruins franchise record ahead of Woody Dumont (three) and Johnny Bucyk (two).
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Tonight we made the most of what we had. Those 2 points are going to be important at the end of the year, so we'll take them.” – Claude Julien, who knows he escaped Florida with a 2-1 win on a night when an undermanned unit certainly didn’t play their best hockey.