Panthers 2, Bruins 0: Late Florida Goals Send Boston To Second Straight Loss

Marco Sturm returns to TD Garden tonight as the Panthers look to capitalize after the Bruins lost their first regulation game on Tuesday against the Jets.

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Beyond The Ice: Marco Sturm Looks From The Outside In

Marco Sturm and the Florida Panthers came into TD Garden last night and took two points from the reigning Stanley Cup Champions -- a team that Sturm knows all too well.

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Bruins 0, Panthers 2: B's Get Shutout for Second Straight Loss

All the Bruins streaks are over. No more winning streak, no more point streak, and for Tim Thomas who went 10-0-0 for over a month, his winning streak met its end tonight after the Panthers took a 2-0 win, with less than three minutes to go in the game.

After both teams played back and forth hockey for close to the entire game, a misplay by Bruins forward Milan Lucic led to a turnover and Florida was able to break into the Bruins zone. Shawn Mattias got a shot off on Tim Thomas who made the initial save, but let out a heck of a rebound. No one from the Black and Gold could clear it out from in front of the net, and Tomas Kopecky took hold and fired it through, tripping over Thomas along the way.

"I was going to shoot it and I fumbled it and then they poked it and went down the other end," Lucic said. "For our line we created so much and one little mistake, one poke goes the other way and they were able to jump on a loose puck in front and sometimes that’s the way it goes."

That happened with just 2:32 left in the third period.

The Bruins have only scored once in their last two games after outscoring their opponents 59-25 in the month of November. Though the first line has picked it up in the last couple of games, they have still been under the microscope when it comes to overall production.

"Yeah, the last two, we’ve done a pretty good job getting shots and scoring chances. But that’s all they are if you don’t get results," Lucic said. "I think the main thing right now for us is we can’t get down on ourselves, we can’t get frustrated, we have to pick ourselves back up and start over again, and remember what got us those fourteen wins in fifteen games. That’s what should be our focus right now and not let frustration creep into our game just because we’ve had trouble these last two games."

Kris Versteeg scored an empty net goal with 42 seconds left to seal the deal for the Panthers. With Philadelphia dropping the Penguins tonight, the Flyers now have taken hold of first place in the Conference followed by the Panthers. Bruins fall to third and Pittsburgh now sits in fourth.

This is the first time since October 27-29 that the Bruins have lost in back-to-back games. The last time was a home-and-home series with Montreal, but these losses certainly pack quite the punch as well-especially with the opportunities the Bruins seemed to be getting.

Five times during the game the Bruins found a way through Florida goaltender Jose Theodore, but it couldn't get past the piping. While the crowd was getting frustrated, captain Zdeno Chara made sure to note that they just have to try harder to finish.

"Sometimes you won’t get those breaks maybe we were getting earlier or in that winning streak," Chara said. "And now it seems like we are missing a little bit of the luck we had early on. When you hit four or five posts in the game it means, yeah it’s close, but you aren’t going to win a hockey game if they don’t go in."

The Bruins did however get some of their physical play back. Both Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk dropped the gloves during the game, in order to stand up for themselves or their teammates. Thornton went just 2:17 into the game after Krystofer Barch slammed Daniel Paille into the boards. Paille was slow to get up, and in fact did not return for the rest of the game. Head coach Claude Julien said there was no "concrete update" on Paille, but the doctors said it would be safer not to let him return for the rest of the game. Paille was only on the ice for 45 seconds.

The Bruins will return to action on Saturday, traveling to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets.

"This is just one game. We flew back from Winnipeg, does that have anything to do with it? I mean, we came out from out West?" Julien asked. "I don’t know, but we certainly don’t think we’re heading in that direction, more that we have to, probably next game, make it a situation where we have to play a real strong, solid game and get that good feeling back in our dressing room."

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: Game Gridlocked 0-0 After Second Period

40 minutes wasn't enough for either team to find an edge on the other, and both went into the locker room without a goal to boast on the board.

The Bruins have still managed to outshoot the Panthers, with a 26-20 advantage, but once again both Theodore and Thomas have been there to make the stops. Perhaps one of the best chances the Bruins had all night came with 12:41 left in the period. Horton came from around the net and had a point blank shot. He fired it, trying to go high glove side, but Theodore was able to grab it just in time.

Bruins fans were privy to a little bit of Round Two, as Johnny Boychuk and Jack Skille dropped the gloves after Boychuk connected with an open ice hit later in the period.

One again, the B's managed to stay out of the penalty box, except for the fighting penalty and a two minute minor to Brad Marchand for elbowing. Marchand tried to hop around Tim Kennedy, but knocked his head a bit and was sent for the penalty.

The Bruins are 2-2-0 when tied after the second period and have outscored their opponents 40-18 in the third period. The Panthers are 5-1-0 when tied going into the third.

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: Thomas, Theodore and Posts Keep Game Scoreless Ater One

Florida goaltender Jose Theodore was credited with 12 saves in the first period.

His posts were credited with three.

Though both teams had their fair share of opportunities, neither was able to capitalize on them. Tim Thomas made eight saves, and kept his team in it defensively while they tried to find the back of the net on the other end.

Krystofer Barch admitted earlier today that he learned a lot of his physical play from Bruins forward Shawn Thornton back in the AHL. He got to have a little refresher early in the game when he went face-to-face with Thornton just 2:17 into the game.

Thornton and Campbell both tried to drop the gloves with him after Barch slammed Daniel Paille into the boards, and Paille was slow to get up. Paille didn't return to the bench for the remainder of the period.

Besides that fight, the Bruins were able to stay disciplined and out of the box, while the Panthers went twice, including Barch's hit on Krejci. The B's were unable to capitalize on either, but they moved the puck well and had some good looks at the net.

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

Event: Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers
Date/Time: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 7 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 17,565), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Thursday'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 B’s faced their first regulation loss since October 29, and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Winnipeg Jets. Shawn Thornton had the lone goal in that game for the Bruins-his third of the year- but it wasn’t enough to continue the 15-game point streak they had going.

Tuukka Rask recorded the loss and is now 4-4-1 this season with a .927 save percentage and a 2.09 GAA.

Tyler Seguin did not play in Tuesday’s game because he missed the team meeting earlier in the day and was scratched because of it. However, coach Claude Julien did say he would be in the lineup tonight.

The Panthers are coming off two strong wins-the most recent one a 5-4 victory against the Washington Capitals on Monday. Stephen Weiss netted two goals for the Panthers while goaltender Scott Clemmensen made 28 saves.

Storyline: There are quite a few familiar faces for both teams heading into tonight’s matchup between the number two and number three teams in the conference.

Marco Sturm will be returning to TD Garden for the first time since he was traded away from the Bruins, and it’s also a reunion for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell who were both drafted, and played for the Florida Panthers until last year. Both were drafted in the early 2000s, and played for Florida their whole careers. Boston traded Dennis Wideman and some draft picks to pick up Horton and Campbell from Florida and the rest is history.

This game will determine second place in the Eastern Conference as both teams are separated by just one point. A regulation win would put the Panthers in second, and give the Bruins two straight losses.

Players To Watch: Last time Seguin was benched, he came out and was on fire. He sat in the press box for a couple of games in the playoffs, but came out against Tampa Bay and lit up the goal lamp. Keep an eye on him to see how he dealt with with bad press.

Tim Thomas will be in net again for the Bruins tonight. Thomas has a 10-0-0 streak going right now a .940 save percentage--second best in the league.

Jose Theodore will be in net for the Panthers.


Prediction: The team seemed to be in good spirits today, and I think being back at home will do them some good after falling to the Jets. I’d expect them to come out and have a big game tonight. Final Score: Bruins 5, Panthers 2.

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Bruins Vs. Panthers: B's Host Some Familiar Faces Tonight Against Panthers

Marco Sturm returns to TD Garden tonight as the Panthers look to capitalize after the Bruins lost their first regulation game on Tuesday against the Jets.

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