Final: Florida 2, Boston 0
Recap: After a scoreless first two periods in which Jose Theodore and Tim Thomas combined to stop all 46 shots they faced, Tomas Kopecky finally opened the scoring with just 2:32 to go, putting the Panthers ahead 1-0.
Thomas left for the extra skater just a minute later, but the B’s still couldn’t find the back of the net. With 42 ticks remaining, former Bruins prospect Kris Versteeg iced it with an empty-netter, cementing a 2-0 victory for the visitors.
Records: Boston 17-9-1, 35 points; Florida 16-8-4, 36 points
Key Play of the Game: In the first period, the Bruins had a number of dazzling scoring chances. In the span of roughly a minute, Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg both hit the post — perhaps a sign of what kind of night the Black and Gold were in for.
Connolly’s Commendations: Rarely is this space reserved for the opposition, but Theodore turned in a heck of a performance against a Bruins squad looking to rebound from their first regulation loss since October. With a 40-save shutout, the former Hart Trophy winner handed Boston their first losing streak in six weeks. He’s now 5-1-1 in his last seven games with a 1.57 goals-against average and is 9-0-1 in his last ten starts against the B’s.
Connolly’s Critiques: Boston’s second-straight loss was highlighted by tough nights for a number of players.
The pairing of Seidenberg and Joe Corvo were out on the ice for each of Florida’s two goals. Seidenberg did have five shots on net but, alongside the line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton (also on the ice for each goal), their collective inability to cover a trailing Kopecky cost the B’s in the closing minutes.
Pretty quiet return to the lineup for Tyler Seguin. After being banished to the press box for his highly-documented absence from a team breakfast prior to the team’s game against Winnipeg, the second-year pro had three shots on goal in over 18 minutes of ice time, though only one of them came in the final 40 minutes of play.
Notes: Dan Paille only saw 45 seconds of ice time before leaving the game due to injury. Former Stars instigator Krys Barch — skating in his first game as a member of the Panthers — charged into the B’s speedy winger and left him in rough shape, prompting an ensuing fight with Shawn Thornton.
Final Thoughts: The Bruins offense has suddenly gone missing. After barreling over a number of opponents during their mesmerizing run, the Black and Gold now have just one goal in the last 120 minutes of hockey. As the old, obvious saying goes, you’re never going to win if you don’t score. Despite a strong 29-save performance by Thomas, the B’s inability to cash in on their bountiful amount of chances ultimately did them in.
Next: The Bruins will take off for Columbus on Friday afternoon, as they’ll take on the Blue Jackets on Saturday night.