David Pastrnak had a pair of goals in the Boston Bruins’, 4-2, victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday night.
Jaroslav Halak (8-3-3 record, 2.26 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 14 games played) made 31 saves on 33 shots against (.939 SV%) in the win as the Bruins snapped a five-game losing streak.
Panthers goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky (11-9-4, 3.14 GAA, .900 SV% in 26 games played), stopped 38 out of 41 shots faced for a .927 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 21-7-6 (48 points) on the season and increased their command over the rest of the Atlantic Division, while Florida fell to 15-12-5 (35 points) and dropped to 6th in the Atlantic.
The B’s also improved to 9-6-1 on the road this season.
For the 34th time this season, Kevan Miller (knee) was still out of the lineup due to lingering setbacks from his injury late last season. He has yet to make his 2019-20 season debut.
Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) remained out of the lineup due to injuries while the Bruins took on the Panthers in Florida.
Boston head coach, Bruce Cassidy, announced a few lineup changes to reporters before the game, replacing Brett Ritchie with David Backes among his forwards.
As a result, Charlie Coyle was moved up to the second line right wing in Ritchie’s place, while Sean Kuraly filled in Coyle’s third line center spot and Chris Wagner moved from the fourth line right wing to the fourth line center.
Backes took over Wagner’s role on the right side of the fourth line.
Everything else was unchanged from Thursday night’s, 3-2, loss in Tampa.
Par Lindholm and Connor Clifton joined Ritchie as Boston’s healthy scratches against the Panthers.
Patrice Bergeron skated in his 1,053rd career NHL game on Saturday– surpassing Don Sweeney for the 3rd most in Bruins franchise history.
Early in the action, Anders Bjork caught Florida defender, Anton Stralman, with a high stick and presented the Panthers with their first power play of the game at 2:10 of the first period.
Florida’s power play couldn’t get anything going and did not convert on the skater advantage while Bjork was in the box.
Midway through the period, Mark Pysyk tripped Brad Marchand at 11:13.
Boston’s first power play opportunity of the night was not successful, but the Bruins were able to take advantage of the momentum generated in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as Jake DeBrusk (8) poked the puck through a Florida defender and earned himself his own breakaway before scoring on Bobrovsky.
Charlie McAvoy (12) and David Krejci (16) notched the assists on DeBrusk’s 100th career NHL point as the B’s took the game’s first lead, 1-0, at 14:41 of the first period.
Less than a couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk interfered with former Bruin, Frank Vatrano, and was assessed a minor infraction at 16:08.
The Panthers were unsuccessful on their second power play of the game and quickly found themselves shorthanded after Grzelcyk was freed from the box.
Brett Connolly tripped John Moore at 18:39 and presented Boston with their second power play of the night.
Though the power play carried over into the second period, the Bruins were not able to take advantage of their skater advantage.
Entering the first intermission, Boston led Florida, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 22-11, in shots on goal.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (7-3) and hits (10-8), while the Panthers led in takeaways (3-2) and faceoff win percentage (57-44).
Both teams had four giveaways aside and were 0/2 on the power play after 20 minutes of action at BB&T Center.
Krejci (7) blasted a one-timer from the high slot that squibbed through Bobrovsky and just over the line before a Panthers defender tried to scoop it out as though it had never happened (before DeBrusk tapped it back in) and the Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead at 3:14 of the second period.
DeBrusk (8) and Torey Krug (17) had the assists on Krejci’s goal as the B’s led, 2-0.
Moments later, Vincent Trocheck sent the puck over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty at 6:50 of the middle frame.
While on the power play, Marchand worked a pass through the slot that was redirected by Pastrnak (27) into the twine from the edge of the crease to make it, 3-0, for Boston.
Marchand (31) and Krug (18) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s power play goal at 7:30 of the second period and the Bruins had their first three-goal lead in a game since beating the Montreal Canadiens, 8-1, on Nov. 26th in Montreal.
Through 40 minutes of play on Saturday night, the B’s led the Panthers, 3-0, on the scoreboard and, 32-22, in shots on goal.
Florida held the advantage in shots on net in the second period alone, 11-10, as well as in takeaways (6-3), giveaways (8-7) and hits (18-11).
Boston led in blocked shots (13-10) and faceoff win% (54-46) entering the second intermission,
The Panthers were 0/2 on the skater advantage, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the power play heading into the third period.
Pysyk (2) sent a backhander over Halak from point blank on a rebound at 2:46 of the third period to put the Panthers on the board and cut Boston’s lead to two-goals.
Aaron Ekblad (13) and Keith Yandle (24) notched the assists on Pysyk’s goal as Florida came out of the gate for the final frame with a burst of energy.
Ekblad got caught up on a Pastrnak breakaway and hooked the winger while falling behind the play, yielding a penalty shot for the Bruins winger in the process.
Pastrnak took his time as he skated in on Bobrovsky for the penalty shot at 6:29 of the third and fired a shot right into the goaltender as he tried to muster something on the short side.
Though he has a knack for scoring impressive goals in regular game situations, Pastrnak is now only 1-for-3 on penalty shots in his career. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky has made seven saves on 11 penalty shot attempts in his career.
Almost midway through the third period, Yandle (4) rocketed a one-timer from the point over Halak’s glove that rang the post and deflected into the twine to make it a one-goal game.
Trocheck (11) and Ekblad (14) had the assists on Yandle’s goal at 9:13 and Florida trailed, 3-2.
Panthers head coach, Joel Quenneville, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with almost two minutes remaining in the game, but things did not go as planned for Florida’s comeback attempt Saturday night.
Unlike how things went when the Bruins blew a, 4-0, lead at home on Nov. 12th against the Panthers, Boston finished off Florida while on the road with an empty net goal from Pastrnak (28) as the NHL’s leading goal scorer hit the empty twine from downtown.
Marchand (32) and Bergeron (17) were credited with the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night at 17:50 and the Bruins secured the, 4-2, victory as a result.
Additionally, with his second assist of the game, Marchand became the first Bruin to reach 50 points in a season in 34 or fewer games since Adam Oates reached the 50-point mark 31 games into the 1995-96 season.
Oates had 14-36–50 totals in that span, while Marchand has 18-32–50 totals so far this season.
Finally, at 18:37 of the third period, McAvoy picked up an interference minor when he knocked down Florida captain, Aleksander Barkov, near the corner boards as time winded down and the puck was a little too far out of reach for both players.
Barkov suffered what appeared to be a lower body injury as a result while McAvoy skated over to the penalty box.
At the final horn, the Bruins had won, 4-2, and finished the night leading in shots on goal (42-33), blocked shots (21-14) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Florida finished the night leading in giveaways (15-10), while both teams were even in hits (21-21).
The Panthers went 0/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s finished Saturday night’s action 1/3 on the power play.
Saturday night marked the first win for Boston since their, 2-0, shutout over the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 3rd. Halak was also in net that night.
Boston wrapped up their four-game road trip (1-3-0) Saturday.
The B’s also improved to 12-3-0 when leading after one period, 11-0-2 when leading after two periods and 14-5-3 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
The Bruins return home for a four-game homestand next Tuesday (Dec. 17th) against the Los Angeles Kings before hosting the New York Islanders (Dec. 19th), Nashville Predators (Dec. 21st) and Washington Capitals (Dec. 23rd).