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After winning their previous two games, the Boston Bruins were hoping to continue their winning streak on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers. Every Panther seemed fine with that, except for one: goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
Vokoun posted his third shutout in four games as he stopped all 40 of Boston’s shots, 19 of which came in the second period of Boston’s 1-0 shootout loss. For 65 minutes and all of the shootout, the Bruins were unable to put anything past Vokoun, who brushed aside every slapshot and smothered every rebound, no matter whose stick the shot was coming off of.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas played just as well as Vokoun, as he refused to let a puck enter the net during regulation and overtime. It wasn’t until the fourth round of the shootout – Cory Stillman’s glove-side shot on Thomas – that a goal found the back of the net.
The Bruins had plenty of chances to score, particularly in the second period, when they turned the Panthers’ zone into a shooting gallery. However, Vokoun had an answer for everything, including the shootout attempts of Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Michael Ryder. The Panthers, who managed to squeeze off 23 shots (with 22 of those coming in the first and third periods), nearly took the lead in the 12 minutes into the first period during a 5-on-3 power play after Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara both went off 50 seconds apart for two-minute minors. During the power play, Stillman received the puck in the circle to Thomas’s glove side before making a cross-crease pass to Nathan Horton. Thomas, who had been playing the post warily because of Stillman’s accuracy, dove across the crease, stopped Horton’s quick shot with his right hand, and covered the puck with his body. Despite the incredible save, Thomas was unfortunately unable to stop Stillman twice.
The loss drops the Bruins to 8-7-3 (19 points). They remain in second place in the Northeast Division, behind only the Buffalo Sabres (21 points), and play again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tim Thomas earned his third shutout of the season, despite taking the loss. He hasn’t allowed a goal in 172 minutes and 28 seconds, dating back to November 5th’s 2-1 SO loss to the Montréal Canadiens.
Chara and Marchand could be mentioned here for taking stupid penalties, especially since they came within one minute of each other, but Thomas bailed them out. Also, it’s hard to fault them when the team played so well.
At 11:34 in the second period, Shawn Thornton and Bryan Allen resorted to punches after their differences concerning each others’ position in front of the Panthers crease couldn’t be resolved. Thornton earned the take-down after landing a few solid punches.
“This game, for anybody who watched it, if they didn’t know the final score, they probably would have said that it was our game. We were the better team out there. It happened that we didn’t manage to score.” – Bruins head coach Claude Julien