GOLD STAR: What a night for Zdeno Chara. He collected the 200th goal of his NHL career when he was able to step into a Danton Heinen drop-back pass in the second period, had a couple of points to go along with a plus-4 rating and had seven shot attempts while being really active in the offensive zone during his 25 plus minutes of ice time. He is one of only 22 defensemen in the history of the NHL to score 200 goals in their career and that is absolutely rarified air among NHL career leaders. All of this comes for a 42-year-old Bruins captain that also signed a one-year, $2 million contract extension with the Bruins today that could also have another $1.75 million in incentives when everything is said and done as well.
BLACK EYE: Henrik Borgstrom certainly didn’t have a very good night for the Panthers as he finished a minus-3 in just 9:32 of ice time. He also went 1-for-6 in the face-off circle. He also didn’t land a single shot on net or really do anything at all that landed any kind of positive impact on the game for Florida. Borgstrom certainly wasn’t alone among players on the Panthers on this night as they allowed seven goals and had things really fall apart after the first period, but he was among the most ineffectual for a Panthers team just playing out the string at this point.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins only held a modest 1-0 lead after the first period even if they’d played pretty well, but that all changed in the second period. The B’s exploded for five goals while outshooting the Panthers by a 13-11 margin and poked holes all over the Florida coverage in the defensive zone. Once the dust had settled in the middle 20 minutes the Bruins were up on the scoreboard 6-2 with the game well in hand, and it just came down to garbage time in the third period where the B’s clinched their playoff spot. It was impressive to see the B’s truly spin things in their direction, but it was also indicative of a Panthers team that’s not going to fight very hard at this point in the season before breaking down.
HONORABLE MENTION: Noel Acciari scored his second goal of the road trip for the Bruins as he continues to look like a decent fit as the center for the third line, particularly if it’s in a pinch for the Boston Bruins as it is right now. Perhaps it’s benefiting the straight-ahead Acciari to be playing on a line with David Backes, who helped feed him for the goal scored in the first period that got things rolling for the Black and Gold. Then in the second period Acciari dropped the gloves with Florida Panthers forward McKenzie Weeger for an energetic bout that ended with Acciari surprising Weeger with a flurry of left-handed punches that eventually knocked the Panthers skater to the ground. Acciari finished with four shot attempts and a hit in 12:15 of ice time, but unfortunately finished the game without the assist for the Gordie Howe hat trick.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 – the number of times over the last 12 seasons that the Bruins have made the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the third straight season that Bruce Cassidy has led Boston to the postseason since taking over behind the bench.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He’s our backbone. He’s such an incredible leader on and off the ice, and he’s a guy that brings it every day. We’re fortunate to have him next year and it couldn’t be more fitting for him to get that 200th [goal].” –Brad Marchand, on Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signing an extension for next season and scoring his career 200th NHL goal during the win.
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