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Brad Marchand finally scores as Bruins cruise past Panthers

11.07.13 at 9:37 pm ET

The Bruins came to life in the third period Thursday to secure a 4-1 victory over the Panthers at TD Garden.

After a scoreless first period, David Krejci opened the scoring with his third goal of the season on a shot through traffic that beat former Boston College goalie Scott Clemmensen. The teams hit the second intermission with the B’s holding a one-goal lead, but the Bruins were able to expand it in the third when Brad Marchand broke a 12-game goal slump. Torey Krug made it a 3-0 game with his sixth goal of the season.

Jesse Winchester, who had earlier in the game left his feet to elbow Chris Kelly in the head (see below), broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid with less than six minutes to play with a goal off a rebound in front. Reilly Smith made it 4-1 when he intercepted a puck in the high slot with 1:47 left to play. Carl Soderberg forced the turnover.

Patrice Bergeron left the game in the second period after getting hit in the face with a puck but returned for the start of the third period. Marchand’s goal was the second line’s second in the last eight games.

Former Bruin Tim Thomas did not play, as he is out with a groin injury, but he did receive a standing ovation when a tribute video was played and he was shown on the big screen in the third period.

The Bruins will continue their homestand Saturday when they host the Maple Leafs.


– We’ll see if that goal will get Marchand back on track. It didn’t really appear to, as he got beat at the blue line to nearly give the Panthers a breakaway and had a neutral zone turnover in a shift shortly after the goal. Additionally, he took an elbowing penalty midway through the third period.

Marchand now has two goals through 15 games, which is obviously better than one, but significantly worse than the nine he had through 15 games a season ago.

– Krejci’s strong and consistent season continues, as he now has at least one point in 12 of the Bruins’ 15 games.

– Speaking of scoring, Krug’s six goals on the season put him tied for the lead among NHL defensemen and second on the Bruins behind Milan Lucic (seven). He still has his struggles defensively, but Krug’s offense has been, as Claude Julien said Thursday morning, a breath of fresh air for the B’s.

– Rask has had to be pretty steady for the Bruins through their rough stretch here, and he has been. This has been a weird season defensively for the B’s, as they’ve been something of a mess in their own zone. Furthermore, they haven’t been scoring a ton of late either, so these are the days when the goalie might need to steal some games. Rask saw to it Thursday, holding on to the Bruins’ one-goal lead before they were able to open it up a bit in the third.


– How a guy can leave his feet to elbow a player in the head and not get called for it is beyond me, but it happened. Winchester threw a really bad hit on Kelly in the corner, leaving Kelly slow to get up. Kelly missed just one shift, as Gregory Campbell centered his line the next play and fought Winchester in response.

– Julien said something Tuesday about the B’s playing down to their competition against the Stars, and Thursday marks the second time this season they’ve done so against the Panthers through the first 40 minutes. Florida entered Thursday with the most goals allowed per game in the Eastern Conference, but the B’s looked pretty even with the Panthers. The attack zone times (which NESN is tracking this season — kudos NESN) were very similar, with Boston holding a 43 percent to 40 percent edge over the Panthers.

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