GOLD STAR: It could have been Roberto Luongo’s final appearance at TD Garden given some of the whispers about an impending retirement for the Florida goaltender. If it was, then he went out on a high note. Luongo stopped 30 shots in a 4-1 win over a team that’s tormented him on the Garden ice many times in the past. He was at his best in the third period as the Bruins furiously tried to rally from a two-goal deficit after a rough start. Instead, Bobby Lou stopped all seven shots that he faced, including a couple of robbery jobs on Brad Marchand once Bruce Cassidy reassembled the Perfection Line with Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Luongo outplayed Tuukka Rask on Saturday afternoon and that’s one of the biggest reasons that Florida was victorious.
BLACK EYE: Rask, on the other hand, was not good on Saturday afternoon and didn’t look sharp in one of his final tuneups before the end of the regular season. He allowed three goals on 14 shots in the first two periods and really looked off his angle on a short-handed strike off the rush from Troy Brouwer in the second period. That goal allowed was a killer for a team that had already given up a pair goals in the first period and didn’t have Rask step up to make a big save when they really could have used one. Certainly, it’s tough to pin all three goals on Rask, but overall he was outplayed by Luongo in this one. Some of the things in Rask’s game this close to the playoffs have to be a concern for the Black and Gold.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins outshot the Panthers by a 16-8 margin in the first period, but still found themselves down by a two-goal deficit after the opening 20 minutes. That’s essentially where the game was lost for the Bruins as they controlled play in the opening 20 minutes, but turned a bad bounce, a defensive breakdown and a juicy rebound from Tuukka Rask into a 2-0 hole after the first period. Once they were down by a couple of goals, the soft shorthanded goal allowed by Rask in the second period was a killer that doused any chances of a comeback. The Bruins seemed to correct their slow starts as of late, but now they’ve had back-to-back lousy first periods against teams playing out the string in the Rangers and Panthers.
HONORABLE MENTION: There wasn’t much to write home about the Saturday matinee loss to the Panthers, but Bruins energy forward Noel Acciari was probably the best thing on the ice for the Black and Gold. Acciari won a one-on-one battle with McKenzie Weegar for position in front of the Florida net and shoveled home a goal for Boston’s only score. He was one of the few B’s players skating with some energy. Acciari finished with the goal in 13:31 of ice time, five shots on net and four hits to go along with the usual scrapping work ethic always provided by No. 55. They could have used a little more of that across the board on Saturday afternoon.
BY THE NUMBERS: 17 – the home point streaks for both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand that were both snapped in the listless 4-1 loss.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I watched Blaine Lacher get it back in 94…It really means a lot to me.” –Bruins fourth-liner Chris Wagner going in the way-back machine to describe what it felt like to win the Bruins' 7th Player Award.
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