GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron didn’t have a shot on net in the first two periods, but came alive when it mattered most in the final 20 minutes. Bergeron scored shorthanded in the middle of the period to further Boston’s momentum and then scored the winning goal with just six seconds left to send the B’s home victorious. Bergeron finished with a pair of goals and a plus-2 rating in 18:58 of ice time, five shot attempts, two takeaways and a blocked shot to go with 13 of 22 face-off wins in a strong comeback win for the Black and Gold. So, what if Bergeron really didn’t look all that good in the first 40 minutes. He showed up when it mattered in the final period for the B’s and that’s why they banked the two points.
BLACK EYE: Poor Roberto Luongo just can’t catch a break in this building. He’s lost in the blowouts, he’s lost in the close games, and he’s lost in some pretty bad third-period meltdowns by the Florida Panthers at TD Garden. Giving up two goals in the final 40 seconds is certainly on the defense as well as the goaltender, but Luongo needed to step up and make a save to at least get the struggling Panthers into overtime. Instead, they are leaving Boston as tough-luck losers in a season where that’s been their lot in life. One of these days you expect Bobby Lou to turn things around and stand on his head at the Garden, but it feels like that day might not ever happen. In all, four goals allowed on 25 shots is pretty bad for him.
TURNING POINT: It was Matt Grzelcyk scoring the unlikely goal with his point shot with a little less than 40 seconds to play with the goalie pulled. It was only Grzelcyk’s second goal of the season, but it was a rocket under the bar with David Backes crowding the front of the net with his big body. Perhaps it was appropriate that it was the second power-play unit that came through and gave life to the Bruins there. Once they scored that tying goal, it was all momentum on their side and it felt as if it was only a matter of time before Bergeron scored that game-winner to secure the two points. The Bruins needed some magic in the final minute of the third period and boy, did they ever get it.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Florida Panthers probably should have won this game. Heck, they definitely should have won this game. It was because some of their best players had excellent evenings for them, including Jonathan Huberdeau, who finished with two goals and three points in 17:35 of incredibly productive ice time. Huberdeau helped the Panthers build a lead in the first period and led Florida with five shots on net and eight overall shot attempts to go along with a hit, three takeaways and a 1-for-1 performance in the face-off circle. In the end, the Panthers crumbled and Luongo turned into a puddle, but it wasn’t due to the effort and production of Huberdeau.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18 – The point streak for Tuukka Rask, who is 15-0-3 in that span and is sporting a 1.93 goals-against average and .931 save percentage over that time.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s in our DNA that we just don’t give up.” –Tuukka Rask on the Bruins notching their 18th consecutive game with a point when they scored two goals in the final 40 seconds for a comeback 4-3 win.
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