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Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Florida Panthers Have the Cure for What Ails You in the NHL

You might ask why are the Panthers still in Florida which is a valid point but an important question for another day. They have served a very important role as the punching bag of the NHL the last few seasons. The Bruins had been playing like garbage the last few weeks (dropping 4 of their last 5 games) but you wouldn't know it by the way they dominated the third period (3-1) en route to a 4-1 win over the hapless Panthers tonight at TD Garden. Great to have you in the Atlantic Division!

After sleepwalking through a dull first period, Boston (9-5-1) scored the first goal for the first time in five games, see a pattern there? David Krejci scored his third goal of the season at 7:17 from Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton. Not really known for his powerful slap shot, Krejci still unloaded one from the blue line through traffic.

The B's also had some luck on their side too, which had been lacking lately, as Brad Marchand was able to score a goal for the first time in 13 games at 4:09 of the third period. Dennis Seidenberg's blast was tipped by Loui Eriksson and it went through Scott Clemmensen's pads, all Marchand had to do was poke it over the line. Literally anyone in the NHL save for maybe John Scott would have scored on it.

Super sophomore Torey Krug made it 3-0 and pinned the Panthers (3-9-4) with their seventh loss in a row. His sixth of the season (tied for most in the NHL by a defenseman) came at 8:57 from Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith. It was a clean breakout as Smith gained the zone, fed Kelly then he held up and went back to Krug who snapped a beautiful shot past Clemmensen.

The Panthers' lone goal was from Jesse Winchester at 14:25. Nick Bjugstad's shot seemed to catch Tuukka Rask (23 saves) awkwardly up high and Winchester was there to put in the rebound. He might be hearing from the NHL in the next few days though after he blatantly elbowed Kelly in the head during the first period. Somehow Kelly only missed a few minutes, it could have been much worse.

In a different way, Smith like Marchand had a cupcake of a goal delivered to him. A Florida defenseman inexplicably didn't see him in the offensive zone so his clearing attempt was put right on his stick. His unassisted goal at 18:13 was his second of the season.

The B's know they have to pick it up way more when they host the Maple Leafs (10-5-0) on Saturday (7, NESN) in their first meeting since the epic seven-game first round playoff series last season. It is the middle game of the season-long five game homestand for the Bruins.

UPDATE 11/8: Winchester was suspended by the NHL for three games. Oh and Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen was fired, tough day for Florida.

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