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Even the hottest goaltenders in the NHL can’t do much against the Boston Bruins these days.
Phil Kessel notched his team-leading 16th goal of the season and Manny Fernandez registered his 1st shutout of the season as the Boston Bruins dismantled Craig Anderson and the Florida Panthers 4-0 Saturday night in Sunrise, Florida.
Anderson came into the game leading the NHL with a .943 save percentage to go along with a three-game winning streak. Midway through the third period, Anderson was out of the game thanks to a collision with B’s forward Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins well on their way to their 7th straight victory.
Michael Ryder opened the scoring for Boston, battling through two Florida defenders and firing a wrister past Anderson to give the Bruins the 1-0 lead at 9:02 of the first period.
Kessel scored next for Boston, capitalizing on the power play just 2:44 into the 2nd frame. The young winger took a feed from Dennis Wideman at the half-boards and fired a low shot through traffic and past Anderson to give the B’s a 2-0 advantage. Kessel now sits 3rd in the NHL in goals, and is on pace for over 50 strikes on the year.
Shane Hnidy scored his 1st goal of the year 2:21 into the 3rd period, one-timing a pass from Blake Wheeler past Anderson to give Boston the insurmountable 3-0 lead.
Next came the incidental collision between Bergeron and Anderson, as Bergeron carried the puck towards the net and crashed head-on into Anderson. Both players were slow to get up, with Anderson leaving the game. Tomas Vokoun replaced Anderson, but didn’t fare much better in his short time in goal.
Chuck Kobasew stole the puck at the blue line and found Wheeler in the slot, and the big winger wasted no time in putting a one-timer past Vokoun to cap the scoring for Boston. The tally was Wheeler’s 9th of the year.
Boston next hosts the Lightning Monday night. The puck drops at 7:00 pm, with coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on NESN.
Phil Kessel (BOS) – This kid is absolutely on fire. Kessel was a force all game long, and could have had 3 or 4 goals with a bit of luck. The winger is currently riding an 11 game point streak, the longest current such streak in the league. He’s on pace for a mind-boggling 55 goals.
The Florida Panthers Fans – It was like a Mausoleum during the game. Wow.