BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are officially mired in their first losing streak since dropping back-to-back games against Montreal on Oct. 27 and 29. After running into a hot goalie in their 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, the Bruins drew another hot goalie in the Florida Panthers' Jose Theodore, who made 40 saves for a 2-0 shutout win. Tim Thomas was solid once again for the Bruins and made 28 saves, but Tomas Kopecky broke a scoreless tie with 2:32 left in regulation and former Bruin Kris Versteeg added the empty netter with 41 ticks left to seal the win. The unlucky Bruins saw five shots hit the post.
Thomas and Theodore put on a goalie's duel: Theodore has had some brilliant performances at TD Garden in the past, but Theodore was in retro mode Thursday as he frustrated the Bruins all night in making 40 saves and getting a little help from the posts. Defending Vezina Trophy winner Thomas kept his frustrated teammates in the game with 28 saves and made sure the Panthers didn't feed off Theodore's performance.
Bruins hitting a scoring rut? Are the Bruins suddenly making opposing goalies look that good, or have the goalies actually been that good? The Bruins entered this game with the second-best offense in the NHL, averaging 3.31 goals per game. But it appears they're snake-bitten, or not burying their chances, or a combination of both lately. The hot streak in November, when the Bruins were averaging six goals per game at one point, seems long gone. While the Bruins have run into hot goalies in Theodore and Ondrej Pavelec -- who made 39 saves for Winnipeg on Tuesday night -- they need to do a better job of creating a net-front presence. Coach Claude Julien said as much after the morning skate Thursday. Yes, they had 40 shots, but a lot of those were from the perimeter. They need to get more bodies down low again.
Power struggle again: The Bruins wasted precious power-play opportunities again, going 0-for-4 after an 0-for-3 performance at Winnipeg. During their amazing 12-0-1 stretch, the Bruins seemed to be finding their groove on the power play. But that power play is starting to resemble the mediocre one they had on display in the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.
Paille injured in first period and does not return: Already having taken a shot off his face and suffering a broken nose earlier this season, Bruins winger Daniel Paille appeared to suffer another head injury Thursday night when Panthers forward Krys Barch laid a hard hit on him 2:17 into regulation. Paille went flying into the boards and crumbled to the ice. As his teammates Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton chased down Barch, with Thornton dropping the gloves with the Panthers winger, Paille tried to get up from the ice but stumbled and had to be helped off the ice. He did not return and his condition was not known.
Seguin back in the lineup: Bruins leading scorer Tyler Seguin returned to the lineup Thursday after being benched Tuesday at Winnipeg for missing a team meeting and breakfast earlier that day. Seguin was back on the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Here's what the lineup looked like to start the game before Paille left with an injury:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton