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Bruins beat Panthers behind Milan Lucic hat trick and Tuukka Rask shutout

11.18.10 at 9:30 pm ET
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On a night that was seemingly all about Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic stole the show with his second career hat trick in a 4-0 Bruins victory over the Panthers at TD Garden.

Lucic and the first line provided the majority of the offense for the Bruins, beating Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun on a goal assisted by former Panthers third overall pick Nathan Horton. He added another from virtually the same spot in the third and made it a hat trick seconds later, stuffing in a rebound to make it 3-0. With the game, Lucic reached 10 goals, surpassing Horton (8) for the team lead. Shawn Thornton added his fourth of the season at 16:04.

Tuukka Rask hadn’t been getting consistent play in front of him to begin the season, so he made it a little easier on teammates, shutting out the Panthers. It was his first victory of the season. Rask stopped all 41 shots he saw, frustrating a busy Panthers offense and improving his record to 1-4-1.

“You know, you play five, six games and you feel like you are playing good and the puck is not bouncing our way,” Rask said after the game. “That’€™s all it is and that’€™s what I said before, just keep working hard and good things will happen and today they did.”

The victory improved the Bruins’ record to 11-5-1. They are now 4-4-1 in home games and 4-3-1 in games played at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Uh, Lucic. Lucic. And Lucic again.

– It took much longer than one would have expected on, say, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. Prague Time, but Rask finally got his first win of the season. Entering the night, Rask was 0-4-1 in five games, but he had played well enough to win on a few occasions, notably the team’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Blues on Nov. 6.

Brad Marchand may be a pest to other trash-talking players, but on Thursday he was even more of a pest to Vokoun. The third-line winger led the B’s with five shots on goal. The total tied his career high, which he reached last season on Nov. 1 against the Rangers.

– A top line missing its center is like a rock band losing its lead singer — you just assume it won’t be the same. Yet with David Krejci out, Patrice Bergeron has channeled his inner Sammy Hagar/Ronnie James Dio and proven that the first line can be fantastic with him in the middle.

For the second straight game, the line was able to manufacture a well-executed goal on the opening tally. Of course, Vokoun should have been able to stop Lucic’s first one, which he took after receiving a drop pass from Horton, but it was the latest example of how well these three are starting to play together.

– Once again, the penalty kill came up big for the Bruins. A night after killing off a 5-on-3 late in a one-goal game in New York, the Bruins kept the Panthers off the board despite being shorthanded five times throughout the night.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The power play only got two chances, and it didn’t see anything come of them. Bryan McCabe went off for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second and Cory Stillman was called for interference at 5:08 of the third. In not converting, the Bruins now have just one power play goal in their last five games.They’ve had 18 opportunities. Hard to think they’re not missing Krejci in that respect.

– Rask was sensational, but that didn’t mean he had to face as many shots as he did. David Booth usually gets a lot of pucks on net, but he had 11 shots through the first two periods. All in all, the Panthers put 41 shots on Rask, 12 of which came off the stick of Booth.

The most shots on goals the Bruins have allowed this season is 46, which Tim Thomas faced on Nov. 6 against the Penguins.

Read More: Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask,
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