Bruins down Panthers for fifth straight win
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Boston Bruins’ domination of the Florida Panthers continued. Well, the Bruins are beating just about everyone lately.
Torey Krug scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and the Bruins won their season-high fifth straight with a 5-2 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.
Chad Johnson made 20 saves, and Chris Kelly, Jarome Iginla, Patrice Bergeron and Andrej Meszaros also scored for Boston. Bergeron also had two assists for the Bruins, who are 7-0-3 during a 10-game stretch on the road, their longest such point streak since 2010-11.
The Bruins have taken 14 of 16 from the Panthers, including eight straight by a combined 33-10 score. Boston is now in first place in the Eastern Conference.
”We’ve worked hard to get ourselves back at the top of the conference,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ”By the looks of it, it’ll probably be a battle right until the end.”
Jimmy Hayes scored both goals for Florida, and Roberto Luongo stopped 37 shots.
The Bruins broke a 1-1 tie on Krug’s goal with 12:22 left the third. Krug took a pass from Brad Marchand in the slot and backhanded it past Luongo.
”It seemed like their guys were a little bit tired, and I thought I could jump up and beat a couple of guys,” Krug said. ”March made an unbelievable play and I was lucky enough to put it in.”
Three goals were scored in a span of 52 seconds later in the third, two by Boston.
The Bruins stretched their lead to 3-1 on Bergeron’s goal with 6 seconds left on a power play. His one-timer went between Luongo’s pads at 11:21.
”It was a big game for us. I think we played a solid road game, and we came out with the two points,” Bergeron said.
The Panthers closed to 3-2 when Hayes found a loose puck in front and jammed in between Johnson’s pads for his second goal at 11:42 for his first career multigoal game.
The Bruins made it 4-2 on Iginla’s goal 31 seconds later when his wrist shot went over Luongo’s shoulder at 12:13 for his 20th of the season and 550th career goal.
Iginla moved into sole possession of 26th on the NHL’s career goals list. Longtime Bruins forward John Bucyk is 25th.
Kelly scored an empty-netter with 1:02 left.
The Bruins beat the Panthers for the second time in six days, including a 4-1 loss on Tuesday in Boston.
”They’re still a benchmark,” Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. ”They’re still the team that we have to gauge ourselves by. That’s a message to our guys, that’s where we need to be.”
The Bruins tied it at 1 on a power-play goal by Meszaros. His slap shot from above the right circle got past Luongo at 9:58. It was the first goal Luongo gave up in nearly 90 minutes since rejoining the Panthers for Friday’s 2-0 win against Buffalo.
Meszaros made his Bruins debut after being acquired from Philadelphia last Wednesday.
”It was good to go out there and play. Overall, I felt pretty good and the two points is huge,” Meszaros said.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Hayes’ first goal at the 7-minute mark of the second. Nick Bjugstad shot from the right side and Johnson made the block, but Hayes grabbed the rebound and wristed it into the open net on the stick side.
The Bruins went after Luongo from the start. He faced 27 shots in the first two periods, with at least three hitting the post, including a deflection off the skate of Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell early in the second that glanced off the iron.
”You have to give (the Bruins) credit,” Luongo said. ”They came out hard in the third and they created some scoring chances. I would have liked to have made a few more saves there at least to keep it a one-goal game, but they have some good players there who can make some plays.
”Things kind of fell apart a little bit in the third.”
NOTES: Bruins F Daniel Paille left with an upper-body injury after being hit by Ed Jovanovski along the boards at 3:06 of the first and did not return. . . . Corey Potter, claimed off waivers by Boston from Edmonton on Wednesday, was a healthy scratch. . . . Bjugstad has five points the past six games for the Panthers. . . . Panthers D Erik Gudbranson left in the third period with a lower-body injury and did not return.