Bruins 8, Panthers 0: Brad Marchand's Hat Trick Propels Boston Over Florida

Brad Marchand had three goals and two assists to lead the Boston Bruins to an 8-0 demolition of the Florida Panthers on Friday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

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Bruins 8, Panthers 0: B's Score Big Again To Earn Win Before Break

We've seen this kind of story unfold before.

The Boston Bruins are streaking, and have done so in impressive style. Back on December 6 when the Bruins point streak was brought to a sudden halt, every Bruins said that starting a new one was their next goal, and they said it with a confidence that did not wane.

While they haven't gone undefeated this month, they have recorded some impressive numbers that any team would kill to have, including tonight's 8-0 pummeling of the Florida Panthers. With four goals in the first period alone, the Bruins increased their scoring margin by quite a bit, and have now outscored their opponents in the last six games, 30-7.They also boast a six-game winning streak.

And Brad Marchand has created a little bit of his own history. He has nine points in his last six games, including six goals. Three of those goals came tonight, marking the first hat trick of his NHL career. He added two assists, and was all smiles going back to the locker room, noting how an item off his Christmas list was just scratched out.

"I never even thought I would ever get one of those [hat tricks] in this league," Marchand said. "But it’s definitely up there."

Not only that, but since the beginning of November, the B's have an impressive 20-2-1 record and now sit on top of the Eastern Conference. As Claude Julien mentioned in the press conference, there is something to be said about the confidence level in the locker room, and his team needed to tap into the talent and knowledge they already had in order to showcase it in games.

"I think our guys have grown so much maturity wise at being able to handle success," Julien said. "I don't know if I could stand here and honestly tell you that we would lose two games in two months in regulation, but the one thing we knew, we would at one point hit a hangover and struggle. We didn't know if it was going to be at the beginning or if we were going to have a great start and struggle in the second month, but we were ready for it. But being ready for it just allowed us not to panic and work our way trough it and that's why the first month instead of yelling and panicking, we just worked out way through it."

That was very evident tonight when each of the four lines scored, and even Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg hit the back of the net for the first time this season. While he isn't known for having an offensive prowess, for him, getting that goal was helpful in taking pressure off himself.

"[It was] a big relief," Seidenberg said. "I mean I tried a lot of shots up until now and to have that shot finally go in was a good feeling. And I finally got that monkey off my back."

Also scoring for the Bruins were Benoit Pouliot who shoveled a nifty goal through his legs and past Jose Theodore for his third goal in three games. Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell and Patrice Bergeron also lit the lamp.

Meanwhile Tuukka Rask recorded 30 saves, and extended his shutout streak to 155:10 for his second shutout of the season. This is his second consecutive start with a shutout and the first time that's happened in his career.

The Bruins will take a short three day break for the holidays and will return to practice after that. They travel to Phoenix next on December 28, where they will hope to carry a little bit of the holiday magic over to the west coast.

"I think the big thing now for our team is we have to get rested and our coach and management have done a great job of doing stuff to make sure we do that," Marchand said. "We had a long year last year and it’s been a hectic year this year so, some time off to rest and recuperate is big for us and that’s what we’re going to do."

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: B's Add Two More, Take 6-0 Lead After Two

The second period started with Scott Clemmensen taking over goaltending duties for Jose Theodore who let in four goals on 14 shots. But the Bruins didn't let that stop them, and they netted two goals before the end of 40 minutes.Clemmensen played the entire game last night, including overtime against the Senators.

Even with two more goals from Gregory Campbell and Patrice Begeron, the Bruins still haven't scored a 5-on-5 goal. They have outshot the Panthers 28-18 through two periods, and Tuukka Rask still remains perfect in between the pipes.

The B's have managed to stay out of the penalty box, not recording a single penalty in the second period. However, Florida has totaled six penalties this game, two of which the Bruins have capitalized on.

As one can expect, the Panthers offense has been silenced this game, and it's been all about the Bruins. All four lines have scored for the B's and they have scored 5+ goals in four of their last six games.

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: B's Collapse Panthers With Four Goals In First Period

The Bruins scored two late goals to put the B's up 4-0 after the first period of play.

Benoit Pouliot was all the rage in the period as well.

Though the Bruins are the best team at scoring 5-on-5, all four of their goals came on specialty situations, including Pouliot's 4-on-4 goals where he took the puck through his legs to fool the defense and put it past a baffled Jose Theodore.

31 seconds later, still 4-on-4, Dennis Siedenberg netted his first goal of the year and gave the Bruins a four goal lead heading into the locker room.

The Panthers start the period with 23 seconds on the power play, but as the game has gone so far, that won't matter.They have a lot to make up, and it comes no surprise that their lack of offense comes when they have seven defensemen on the bench and seven forwards out with injuries.

Jose Theodore saw 14 shots and had 10 saves. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask stopped all six that he saw.

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Rich Peverley Injury Update: Forward Will Miss Panthers Game

The Boston Bruins will be without forward Rich Peverley when they meet the Florida Panthers Friday night at 7 p.m. inside the TD Garden. Peverley is suffering from an undisclosed injury.

The news that Peverley would not skate against Florida comes as no surprise considering that the Bruins forward hasn't skated since Monday's win against Montreal and the Bruins want to give him some time to recover. But the loss is a significant one -- Peverley has scored at least a point in four straight games and is tied with Patrice Bergeron for second-most points on the Bruins (25), behind Tyler Seguin (29).

The Bruins are looking to extend a five-game winning streak that began on Dec. 10 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Panthers were the last team to beat Boston, a 2-0 affair on Dec. 8.

For more Bruins coverage, visit our team page or our blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.

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Bruins Vs. Panthers Preview: TV/Radio Info, Time, Location And More

Event: Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers
Date/Time: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 7 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 17,565), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Friday's game between the Bruins and the Panthers will be broadcast live on NESN. The game can also be heard on the 98.5 the Sports Hub Radio Network, with Dave Goucher providing play-by-play, and Bob Beers providing analysis.
Last Time Out: The Bruins seem to have found their way back to the winning side of things, after putting up two consecutive wins against the Flyers, who they beat 6-0 on Saturday, and the divisional rival Montreal Canadiens who fell to the B’s 3-2 on Monday.

Forward Benoit Pouliot scored his second goal in as many games to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first period. David Krejci and Brad Marchand also netted goals.

The Panthers on the other hand played just last night against the Ottawa Senators where they came out short in a 4-3 overtime loss. However, impressively enough they came back from goal deficits three different times--two on the power play--to tie it up and muster a point out of it.

Tomas Kopecky scored the tying goal in the third period to send it to the extra frame, but Senators forward Bobby Butler put the game away in overtime.

Storyline: The Bruins haven’t seen much in the way of defeat in the last few months, and while the first part of December was a little shaky for them, they managed to get through the month with only two losses to their name. Unfortunately for them, one of those losses was to the Florida Panthers.

Back on December 8, Kopecky once again performed his magic and picked up the game winning goal in Boston, to give the Panthers the lead over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference at the time. Florida currently holds first place in the Southeast Division, but currently sits behind the Bruins now in the Conference.

Jose Theodore came up big in the last meeting, matching Tim Thomas’ recorded saves, and in fact faced 40 shots, but didn’t allow a goal for his second shutout this year. Thomas had 33 saves that night.

Players To Watch: Benoit Pouliot has been making a name for himself the past couple of games, so it will be interesting to see if he can expand on his past few performances. Tyler Seguin holds a team high 14 goals and linemate Brad Marchand has been hitting the back of the net as well.

Meanwhile, Rich Peverley will be out of the game for undisclosed reasons, but everyone else on the team should be back in action.

However, the Panthers have been on the short end of the injury stick, as they lost their seventh forward to injury last night in Ottawa. Stephen Weiss left in the first period with an upper body injury. While they proved last night that they can still score, even with their forward problems, doing so against Thomas will be a task for them.

Prediction: With the amount of injuries the Panthers have taken and with Tim Thomas in net, it will be hard for Florida to keep up with the way the Bruins have been scoring. However, Theodore has been notorious for being able to stop the B’s so it should be a low scoring, but fun game. Final Score: Bruins 3, Panthers 1.

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: B's Hope To Take Two More Points From Florida Before Christmas Break

The Bruins are coming off an abbreviated break and are hoping to capitalize on a Panthers team that played less than 24 hours ago.

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