BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins swept their four-game season series with the Florida Panthers with a 2-1 win at a sold-out TD Garden on Wednesday night. Tim Thomas made 34 saves, including some dandies in the final minutes and seconds to preserve the win, and Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic lit the lamp for the Bruins as they head into the All-Star break on a high note. They will return to action next Tuesday at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Marchand marches on – Brad Marchand just keeps marching on. After being held pointless with the rest of his team in the 2-0 loss at Los Angeles on Monday, Marchand was back on the score sheet Wednesday, scoring his 13th goal of the season 13:31 into the first period to put the Bruins up 1-0. Marchand now has three goals and five points in his past three games and seven goals and 11points in his past 11 games. His hustle and tenacity continue to pay off and his scoring has come a great time.
Krejci and Lucic answer the bell, Horton still can’t find twine – Following the 2-0 loss to the Kings on Monday, Bruins coach Claude Julien said that his big players -- namely Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton -- needed to produce more, especially with Marc Savard now being out indefinitely with a concussion. Krejci and Lucic answered the bell when Krejci beat Panthers forward David Booth clean on a faceoff and got it back to Lucic for a blistering shot that beat Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun at 1:52 of the second period. But while Lucic and Krejci had their game going, their linemate, Horton, couldn’t really find his. Yes, he finished at a plus-1 and had two shots, but he has now gone 10 games without a goal. Whether it’s switching Horton off that line or even sitting him for a game or two to watch from above, the Bruins need Horton to find his game after the All-Star break.
Krejci survives scary collision with boards – David Krejci actually had a huge scare earlier in the game when, with just over seven minutes left in the first period, he and Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz got tangled up chasing down a puck and Krejci went flying awkwardly into the boards. Krejci stayed on the ice for a few minutes, appearing to have injured his shoulder, but then returned for his next shift. The crafty Czech center ironically seemed to play better after the spill.
All-Star report – While their teammates will most likely head for some much-needed rest and relaxation for the upcoming All-Star break that starts Thursday, captain Zdeno Chara, goalie Tim Thomas and rookie forward Tyler Seguin will head to Raleigh, N.C., tomorrow for All-Star weekend. Chara and Thomas definitely looked like All Stars on Wednesday night, with Thomas making 34 saves and Chara getting an assist on Marchand’s goal. But Seguin appeared to already be headed to Raleigh, as the rookie struggled and saw limited ice time in the third period, playing only 1:00 of the final frame and 9:26 total. Hopefully, Seguin can have some fun and gain some confidence being around the league’s best this weekend.
Stuart sits again – For the third straight game, Mark Stuart was the odd man out on the Bruins’ blue line. Stuart has now played only three games since returning from a broken finger that kept him out for 18 games. Prior to the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien stressed that it wasn’t a health issue or knock on Stuart but that he simply liked the chemistry and play of the other six defensemen right now.
“[Stuart] was out for quite a while and those six guys did a pretty good job -- did a really good job, actually,” said Julien. “You’ve got to make sure you don’t penalize those guys just because Stuey comes back.
“At the same time, Stuey’s a good player for us and we gotta hopefully keep him going, as well, so we’re going to try to balance that out.”