February 24, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Bruins complete Florida sweep

By Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara subtly celebrates his highlight-reel goal against Florida. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 4, Florida 1

Recap: As was the case in Tampa Thursday, the Bruins were off and running as soon as the puck dropped at BB&T Center down in Sunrise. Milan Lucic ripped home a shot off a clean faceoff win by David Krejci at the 7:52 mark. At 13:51, Zdeno Chara scored what you can pretty much pencil in for the Goal of the Year Award, as the captain spun in the slot, deked by a defender then lifted a perfect backhander over Jacob Markstrom to make it 2-0. 

A second shoddy shift by Andrew Ference led to Florida cutting the lead in half, as Tomas Kopecky put the puck past Tuukka Rask during a scramble in the crease. Boston restored the two-goal advantage when Chris Kelly tapped in a rebound on the power play (yep, you read that right) with 2:31 gone in the middle frame.

In the third, Boston finished killing off a four-minute Panthers' power play, as Lucic was in the box for cross-checking Mike Weaver. Rask held the fort down and Dan Paille notched his second point of the night with an empty-netter.

Records: Boston 11-2-2, 24 points; Florida 5-9-4, 14 points

Key Play of the Game: When Weaver got away with boarding Lucic and drew the retaliatory penalty, Florida had a golden opportunity to get back in the game. But Boston's top-ranked penalty kill continued its outstanding run and kept the Cats' man advantage at bay.

Connolly's Commendations: You know what else continued? Tuukka Rask's domination of the Panthers. He came into the game with a 4-1-0 record and 0.97 GAA against Florida. Rask stopped 34-of-35 in the matinee, including all 17 shots he faced in the third period. 

Kelly got a rare opportunity to play on the man advantage and came up big, notching his first goal of the year -- which hopefully will be a sign of good things to come. He also won 7-of-9 at the dot. 

Connolly's Critiques: The Bruins had two really rough shifts in the first in which Florida had them pinned in for a lengthy stretch of time. Ference was on the ice both times and continues to struggle this season.

Notes: Chris Bourque notched his third power-play assist in the last six games. Dennis Seidenberg had eight hits and five blocked shots, both game-highs. 

Final Thoughts: The Panthers managed to outshoot the Black and Gold in this one but, for the most part, the lead always felt pretty safe with Rask looking steady between the pipes. Boston's now won three of their first four games on their current road trip.

Next: The B's will look to close out their road swing strong when they take on the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com