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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bruins Continue Their Domination of the Panthers, Pick Up Easy 3-1 Win at TD Garden

If you enjoy free money (and who doesn't?), throw down a bet on the Bruins the next time that they play the Panthers, particularly if it's at TD Garden. Boston (16-9-3) coasted to a simple 3-1 victory against Florida (14-12-4) this afternoon at TD Garden. With the two points, the B's have won their last nine games in a row at home vs. the Panthers (Florida's last win here was Dec. 8, 2011).

Ryan Spooner scored two goals for the third time in his short NHL career and Tuukka Rask (26 saves) continued his recent wonderful play (6-0-2 in last 8 games with 1.52 goals against average & .948 save percentage). Boston improved to 7-1-2 in its last 10 games and they moved to three points ahead of Florida in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand. It was good to see that the B's didn't suffer a letdown after Wednesday's huge road win in Montreal. They are clearly starting to make progress this season after such a rough start.

Spooner made it 1-0 at 11:35 of the first period when he tipped in Torey Krug's shot from the point. It was Spooner's sixth goal of the season and Krug's 14th assist. Boston's top-ranked power-play did what it does as Spooner cashed in on their first chance in the second period at 8:00. Truthfully, Roberto Luongo (22 saves) should have made the save on a shot that went through his five-hole but nobody on the Bruins or in the crowd was complaining. Patrice Bergeron picked up his 18th assist (he's tied with Patrick Kane for the NHL lead with 15 power play points) and David Krejci notched his team-leading 19th assist on Spooner's second tally of the game.

Old friend Reilly Smith cut it to 2-1 at 13:56 when his shot from distanced trickled through Rask's legs. It was a shot that Tuukka no doubt would want back but he's been so good lately that what could you objectively say about it? Aaron Ekblad had the lone assist on Smith's eighth goal of the season. Brad Marchand wrapped it up with an empty-netter at 18:37, his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Bergeron picked up the assist (he has a 4-game point streak and 17 points in his last 16 games).

This was the start of an important stretch for the Black and Gold since seven of their next nine games are all at the Garden. They'll need their rest the next few days since they host Edmonton (13-15-2)-who has won five straight games-on Monday (7, NESN) which is the beginning of a four-game week. They have a home-and-home with the reeling Penguins (15-10-3) on Wednesday and Friday-who just fired head coach Mike Johnston this morning and replaced him with former Bruins assistant Mike Sullivan-then they host the Devils (15-10-4) on Sunday (5, NESN).

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