Final: Boston 4, Florida 1
Recap: After a lackluster opening frame against an opponent that hasn't won a hockey game in nearly three weeks, the Bruins finally came to life in the second period, as David Krejci's third goal of the season made it a 1-0 game midway through the frame.
Unfortunately, the Bruins cooled right off after that, firing just two pucks on former BC star Scott Clemmensen over the remaining 12:43 of the period. However, the B's took over in the third and pushed their lead to 3-0 on goals from Brad Marchand and Torey Krug.
Florida made it a 3-1 game on Jesse Winchester's fourth goal of the season with 5:35 to go, but Reilly Smith -- the recipient of a tremendously terrible turnover by, I believe, Tomas Fleischmann -- made it a three-goal game again with 1:47 left to close out the scoring.
Records: Boston 9-5-1, 19 points; Florida 3-9-4, 10 points
Key Play of the Game: Marchand's goal was huge. Dennis Seidenberg's shots was tipped by Loui Eriksson and landed in the crease behind Clemmensen, allowing for No. 63 to swoop in and bang it home. The tally seemd to reinvigatore the Black and Gold, who outshot the opposition 14-7 in the final frame.
Connolly's Commendations: Speaking of Marchand, the winger was involved all night and deserved to get the monkey off his back (as he demonstrated in his goal celebration) after back-to-back strong games. The slumping winger notched his second goal of the season, had two hits and a blocked shot.
The Panthers might as well just call Tuukka Rask their daddy at this point. The B's netminder is now 9-1-0 lifetime against Florida with a sub-1.00 goals-against average.
Krug continues to be on an absolute tear. He's now third among all rookies and tied for first among all NHL defensemen with six goals on the season.
Connolly's Critiques: Pointing out any one individual would be needless nitpicking, so we'll give the B's that didn't shine a reprieve.
Notes: Tim Thomas was given a standing ovation by the TD Garden crowd midway through the third period, as the two-time Vezina Trophy winner was shown sitting in the ninth floor press box up on the big screen. ... Smith's goal gives him two on the season. Both have come against the Panthers.
Final Thoughts: The B's ultimately got what they wanted: a win that looked convincing in the box score over an inferior opponent. They probably aren't too pleased with how they played in the first half of the contest, but the results are what matters, especially for a Boston team that'd won just one of their last five games coming in.
Next: The Leafs will come to TD Garden Saturday for the first time since their meltdown in Game 7 against the Bruins during last year's playoffs.