|2014 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round||NBA First Round Predictions||Datsyuk’s Late Heroics Topple Bruins in Game 1||Celtics Go 1-1 in Draft Order Tiebreakers|
The Florida Panthers shut out the Bruins 2-0 Thursday night. Despite out-shooting the Panthers 40-30, the B’s couldn’t get one by Jose Theodore.
The Panthers have been one of the surprise teams this season in the NHL. Coming into Thursday, the Panthers sat in third place in the Eastern Conference, also riding a two-game winning streak and looking to leap-frog Boston for the number two spot in the conference.
The Bruins really had strong offense to start, as they fired pucks at Theodore for the first two and a half minutes of the game. The Bruins hit a post early on a deflected shot from the point.
Later, Daniel Paille took a high hit that sparked a reaction from Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton (Paille did not return). Thornton got to Barch first and stepped up for Paille but not many punches landed.
Boston went on the power play after the fight due to the high hit, but the PP once again produced nothing. The Bruins played the power play along the boards, but they needed to get the puck to the middle of the ice. The Bruins have the players to score on the man advantage, but they need to change the way they go about it.
Boston hit two more posts around the halfway point of the first, with Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron doing the honors.
The Bruins then went back on the power play when Bergeron drew a tripping penalty. Boston couldn’t light the lamp again with the advantage, and the Panthers answered with a few chances on the next shift from the top line (Tomas Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg).
The first good chance of the second came from Rich Peverley, who made a nice rush right to the front of the net. Brad Marchand took an elbowing penalty on the next shift, but the Panthers didn’t score on the advantage. Boston went on a third power play and still got no production from it. The fourth PP generated some good chances, but still no goals.
Johnny Boychuck had a huge hit in the second period and that was followed up by his first fight of the season. Boychuck handled himself pretty well, Boychuck had a visor on his helmet and Jack Skille couldn’t get it off, so it wasn’t really fair.
Boston put the pressure on five minutes into the third. Milan Lucic had a clean look in the slot, but Theodore made the glove save. Theodore made several saves on rebound chances and clean shots for the first ten minutes of the third, and he played well, including the help of five goal posts.
The Chris Kelly line had a pretty good shift with Peverley getting right in on goal again. The Krejci line followed that up with more offensive pressure. The Panthers finally got into the offensive zone with five minutes left in the game, but Tim Thomas made two huge saves.
Thomas didn’t get many shots on him for most of the third but he came up big when he got shots. Potential playoff match up of Thomas and Theodore would be a great series.
Thomas Kopecky scored the first goal of the game at 17:28 on a rebound that had Tim Thomas out of the net, Kopecky didn’t miss the open net. Boston pulled the goalie with a minute left in the game and got a good look from the point, but it was blocked. Kris Versteeg scored the empty net goal to make it 2-0 with under a minute left.
Brad Marchand got into a scrum with ten seconds left when he ducked a check. It was a nice move by Marchand with ten seconds left, but with Florida up two goals, why is he trying to make a huge hit?
Boston is back in action Saturday in Columbus.
We all expected Tyler Seguin to have a strong game and he showed energy early with a couple of shots and even had a check in the defensive zone. He got a few shots off in the first and looked to be skating pretty well. Seguin got a couple slap shots from the wing but that’s not where he is most dangerous.
Seguin is a natural center playing wing, but I think he is more dangerous in the middle of the ice where he can open up some space to shoot or use his play making ability to set up his teammates.
Clearly it was a good offensive game for Seguin, but he did have chances all night. That doesn’t mean that he took being sat down the wrong way. Tyler did have a great shot at a tip in on a nice pass from Chara late in the game, but he couldn’t get his stick on the puck.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Florida Panthers, Johnny Boychuk, Jose Theodore, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Rich Peverley, Shawn Thornton, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara