James Reimer stopped 46 shots and Evgenii Dadonov set up two first period goals to lead the Florida Panthers to a big 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins Thursday night at the BB&T Center, where the Cats are now 9-1 in their last ten home games.
The Panthers got on the board 6:25 into the first when Dadonov took a pass from Aleksander Barkov in the right circle, paused, and then threw puck in front where it deflected off Nick Bjugstad’s blade on it’s way to Aaron Ekblad, who swatted out of the air and into the net.
Dadonov sped down the left wing and found Bjugstad with a knifing cross for a backdoor putaway 3:41 later to give the Cats a two-goal advantage. The second assist on Bjugstad’s 16th went to Mike Matheson.
Vincent Trocheck completed the scoring with a power-play goal at the 14:07 mark of the second period. After taking a pass from Barkov, Keith Yandle moved from left to right across the blue line before feeding Trocheck in the right circle. Trocheck took advantage of a Jonathan Huberdeau screen and ripped a wrister top shelf on Anton Khudobin’s blocker side. The goal came about five minutes after Huberdeau helped out Reimer by sweeping a loose puck off the Panthers goal line.
Reimer, making his first start since a March 2 win over Buffalo, posted his third shutout of the season. One of his best saves of the night came in the latter part of the opening stanza, when he stretched out to deny defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.
The win Panthers moved within three points of idle New Jersey for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with two games in hand on the Devils. Florida will wrap up its five-game homestand with a Saturday afternoon matinee against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers before heading out for a three-game road trip.
Full Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)
Tea & Honey
- Aleksander Barkov’s third period assist allowed him to become the first Panther to reach 70 points in a season since Olli Jokinen did it in 2007-08.
- Birthday boy (30) James Reimer made 20 of his 46 saves in the final frame. Reimer posted his 17th win of the campaign while giving Roberto Luongo a needed breather.
- Boston backup Anton Khudobin made 25 stopped and saw his record fall to 15-6-4.
- Frank Vatrano faced his former team for the first time since being traded from the Bruins to the Panthers on February 22. Vatrano logged 11:51 TOI and one shot on goal.
- In addition to his first period helper, Mike Matheson scrapped with David Backes after he ran Vincent Trocheck. Backes was ejected after the bout for his hit.
- Torey Krug led all skaters with eight shots on goal. Krug also blocked a shot and had two takeaways.
- Head over to Stanley Cup of Chowder for their take on the first of four between Cats and Bears.
Condensed Game (courtesy of NHL.com)