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Bruins jump ahead early, cruise to 3-1 win over Panthers

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Boston's NHL-leading power play sends Cats to second home defeat.

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins posted their third straight win, skating to a relatively easy 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in Friday night action from the BB&T Center.

Brad Marchand scored two goals and Tuukka Rask stopped 31 of 32 shots to move the Bruins past the Panthers on the Atlantic Division ladder. Both clubs have 11 points, but the B's have played one less game.

Former Bruin Reilly Smith set the stage for Boston's first goal with a hooking minor on Kevan Miller.

The Bruins cashed in on the ensuing power play at the 9:22  mark when Marchand deflected Zdeno Chara's point shot past Roberto Luongo. Colin Miller picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Rask came up with a huge stop on Jonathan Huberdeau on the door step a few minutes later to preserve Boston's early lead.

Marchand lit the lamp again at 7:07 of the second period. The pesky forward corralled a Torey Krug shot right in front of Luongo and deposited the puck into the net on the backhand. Brett Connolly got the second helper for his nice little bank pass off the boards back to Krug.

The Bruins took a commanding three-goal lead 2:06 later. Chara was in front to swat home the rebound of David Krejci's shot with Brandon Pirri in the box for tripping. Patrice Bergeron drew the other assist.

Florida would get on the board on a 5-on-3 power play a couple minutes later. After Pirri let a one-timer go, Dave Bolland and Nick Bjugstad got cracks at the rebound with Bjugstad's finding the back of the net at the 11:32 mark.

Rask came up with good stops on Huberdeau and Smith to kept Boston's up by two after forty minutes.

After combining for 30 shots over the first two periods, the floodgates opened on the goaltenders in the third, with the Panthers firing 17 shots at Rask and the Bruins putting 14 on Luongo. Unfortunately, the score remained the same and the Cats fell to 5-4-1.

Florida's special teams won them Tuesday night's game over the Colorado Avalanche and it be wouldn't wrong to say they cost them big time last night. The Boston went 2-for 3 on the power play while the Cats managed just one power-play goal on six opportunities.

The Panthers get right back at it tonight against the Washington Capitals, who also played last night, beating Columbus. They will need a better all-around effort and a more offensive efficiency to avoid a scary defeat on Halloween night.

Franks & Beans

  • Traded combatants Reilly Smith and Jimmy Hayes each failed to figure in the scoring. Smith had 3 shots on goal, 3 hits and finished with a -1 rating. Hayes lead all shooters with 6 shots and also dished out a game-high 6 hits. Impressive, most impressive.
  • David Krejci's helper on the Chara goal was the 300th of his NHL career.
  • Dmitry Kulikov suffered a broken nose late in the third period. Marchand was tossed from the game for the boarding infraction.
  • In addition to scoring Florida's only goal, Nick Bjugstad had 3 other shots, 3 hits and went a sterling 9-of-13 in the face-off dot.
  • Logan Shaw made his NHL debut and logged 10:49 TOI, finishing with a shot and 3 hits.
  • Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots and fell back below .500 at 3-4-1. Look for Al Montoya to start tonight's game.
  • A hearty bowl of Stanley Cup of Chowder might go good with the crow you're eating this morning.
  • Like things a little fancier? Check out war-on-ice for the advanced stats breakdown.

Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)