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Recap: Panthers get thumped 7-3 by league-leading Bruins

After posting one of their more impressive wins of the season in New Jersey, the Florida Panthers followed that result up by getting drubbed 7-3 by the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Spencer Knight, who hadn’t seen game action since getting pulled in Winnipeg 13 days ago, gave up three goals (to Connor Clifton, Brandon Carlo, and Charlie Coyle) in a  5:16 span of the second half of the opening period to put his team in a huge hole.

That hole got deeper when David Pastrnak scored a power-play goal 1:38 into the middle frame with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each collecting their second assists of the night.

Paul Maurice elected to leave Knight in the net and his teammates finally answered back 1:24 later. Carter Verhaeghe sent the puck back to rookie Matt Kiersted, who put the puck on Linus Ullmark. Sam Reinhart cleaned up by kicking the rebound onto his blade and depositing it into the net.

Eric Staal would halve the deficit at the 5:42. After rounding the back boards, Brandon Montour fed out to Gustav Forsling, and he found Staal set up for a one-timer in the lower right circle. Staal got just enough of it to get it to go by Ullmark to notch his second as a Panther.

Visions of last year’s Cardiac Cats danced in our heads when a determined Verhaeghe kept whacking away and made it a one-goal game at the 8:22 mark. After taking a drop from Eetu Luostarinen, Reinhart put a rising wrister on Ullmark, resulting in a juicy rebound that eventually got Cartered.

The potential comeback was snuffed out at 11:50 when the Bruins converted on a rush, with some of the blame going to Sam Bennett, who decided to change as it unfolded. After taking a pass from Hampus Lindholm, David Krecji sent a return pass back into the slot which the defenseman redirected off the post. The rebound came to Krejci and he potted his tenth of the season.

Maurice decided for maybe the third, fourth or fifth time to stick with Knight and Bergeron tacked on two more in the third, one at even-strength and one on a power play, to make it a four-point night and a four-goal win for league-leading Boston. Marchand drew a third helper on the game’s final goal.

After beating a cold division leader at Prudential Center on Saturday, the Panthers couldn’t do the same agaisnt the hotter Bruins, who moved to 17-0-2 on home ice this season. Boston picked apart a rusty looking Knight early and then three more times after the Cats pushed back to get within a goal. The Bruins went 2 for 4 with the man advantage while Florida’s power play went 0 for 3. An all too common occurrence over the first 33 games of the campaign. I have to wonder how the game would’ve turned out had Sergei Bobrovsky started the second period, or come on after the fourth or fifth Boston goal. Evidently, Maurice was going to let it ride with Knight no matter what. Not sure he gave his team the best chance to win as the game unfolded. The Panthers will return home to host the Devils Thursday night before breaking for Christmas.

Tea & Honey

  • Sam Reinhart’s 12th goal of the season extended his scoring streak to four games and was his 400th career NHL point. the red-hot Reinhart has amassed five goals and three assists in his last four outings.
  • Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand factored on the same goal three times to bring their total together to 392, which marks the second-highest such total by Bruins teammates behind Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge, who did it 406 times.
  • Spencer Knight finished with 19 saves in his first start since December 6. Linus Ullmark made 36 saves to raise his record to incredible 18-1-1.
  • David Pastrnak’s game -winning goal extended his point streak to nine games. That’s the second time this season that Pasta has had points in nine in a row. A fuoco!
  • Colin White returned to the lineup and registered two shots on goal and finished with a -2 rating. while logging 15:36 TOI.
  • Other Panthers who went -2 were Grigori Denisenko, Aleksi Heponiemi, Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, Zac Dalpe and Josh Mahura. Aaron Ekblad “led” the way with a -3 rating.
  • The Bruins took a two games to one season series lead. Read more about at Stanley Cup of Chowder./