January 16, 2012

Bergeron shines in shootout win over Panthers

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Boston 3, Florida 2 (SO)

Recap: Patrice Bergeron got the B's on the board early, snapping a feed from Benoit Pouliot past Scott Clemmensen just 1:20 to make it 1-0 Boston. Florida carried play in the first, but Tuukka Rask stopped all 12 shots he faced.

In the second, Jason Garrison tied things up with a slapper from the point, as his 12th goal of the campaign made it 1-1. Boston responded with 5:20 to go in the frame when Bergeron tipped in his second of the night on a 5-on-3, but Shawn Matthias came out of the box and beat Rask on a breakaway just 1:14 later to make it 2-2.

After a high-tempo, scorless third period and overtime, the game went to the shootout. Stephen Weiss beat Rask in the third round, but Bergeron scored when Boston needed a tally to stay live. After Mikael Samuelsson lost the puck on his ensuing attempt, David Krejci beat Clemmensen glove side to give the Black and Gold the extra point.

Key Play of the Game: Late in overtime, Kris Versteeg came in alone on a breakaway. Tuukka Rask made a clutch stop and Zdeno Chara cleared the loose puck out of the crease to save the B's bacon.

Connolly's Commendations: Bergeron was in absolute beast mode for the Bruins. With two big goals and a key strike in the shootout, No. 37 was undeniably the No. 1 star. He also fired a team-high six shots on goal. 

Bergeron's linemate, Tyler Seguin, also had a big night. No. 19 assisted on each of the the Bruins' tallies in regulation, the second of which was a highly impressive play that saw Seguin come out of the corner with the puck, loop back near the blueline then feed Bergeron for a tip-in goal.

Rask ran his record in his last seven games to 7-0-0 with the victory. He certainly earned it, stopping a number of golden scoring chances en route to a 38-save performance.

Connolly's Critiques: Not a great night at the office for Joe Corvo. After being sent down to the bottom pairing before the game, the veteran defenseman finished minus-2 on the night, as he was on the ice for each of the Panthers' goals. 

Ditto for Chris Kelly, who was also minus-2 and was one of just two forwards to not put a puck on net (Dan Paille was the other).

Boston's defense as a whole was a little shoddy once again. The Bruins allowed four breakaways, forcing Rask to stand on his head far too often.

Notes: Florida moved to 21-14-9 on the season, the team’s best start since going 27-11-3-3 in 1999-2000. David Krejci's 11-game point streak came to an end. 

Final Thoughts: Though the tilt was highly entertaining, coach Claude Julien undoubtedly expects more out of his club -- especially in their own end. Nevertheless, Boston still hasn't lost back-to-back games on the road this season as they managed to find a way to win.

Next: The Bruins will now head over to Tampa, as they'll take on the Lightning on Wednesday night.