Two goals early in the second period by Frank Vatrano and Patrice Bergeron propelled the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Panthers Thursday night in Florida.
Vatrano, who had not played in a game this season due to foot surgery, did not waste any time getting on the scoresheet. Just over two minutes into the second period, Torey Krug dished a pass to Vatrano in the high slot, and his snapshot beat James Reimer through the legs for the game’s opening goal. Frankie V showed off his lightning-fast release, as the puck was off the blade of his stick just as quickly as it got there.
Boston’s power play has been abysmal so far this season, but it moved the puck well in this one. Three minutes after Vatrano’s tally, Krug found Bergeron in the same area of the ice, and he scored on a wrist shot to extend the lead to 2-0. This was just Bergy’s fifth goal of the season, and his first in 10 games (his defensive play has still been top notch, let’s not forget that).
The Bruins carried their lead deep into the third period, but the Panthers made it interesting with 6:40 to go. Aleksander Barkov scored the goal, but all eyes were on Jaromir Jagr. The 44-year-old picked up an assist on the play, making him the second-highest scorer in NHL history, trailing only The Great One. Never forget Jagr’s time in Boston, when he recorded .47% of those 1,888 points.
The Panthers could not generate many dangerous scoring chances on Tuukka Rask, and David Backes sealed the game with an empty-net goal.
- The fourth line of Blidh-Moore-Hayes is really clicking right now. It combined for seven shots, and put together a couple of dominant shifts in the offensive zone.
- David Pastrnak returned after missing two games due to an elbow procedure. The offense as a whole looks much more confident when he is in the lineup. He nearly got on the board twice in this one, as he had a one-timer stopped at the top of the crease and put a slapshot through Reimer’s legs and off the post.
- It was nice to see Vatrano get on the board in his season debut. His skill level and shooting ability will help bolster the B’s goal-deprived offense, and will give Claude more depth when switching up the lines.
- The B’s just got out of a tough stretch of the schedule in which they faced a lot of tough opponents, but there are numerous winnable games coming up. They have Carolina on Friday night before facing the NHL-leading(!!!) Columbus Blue Jackets, and will close out 2016 with two games against the Sabres. CBJ will be a real test, but the other three need to result in points.
[Photo via NHL.com]