Tim Thomas ‘ first start back at TD Garden didn’t go like a lot of his previous ones, as he allowed six goals in a 6-2 win over the Panthers Tuesday night.
Things got heated late in the game, as Thomas hit Carl Soderberg in the head with his stick with 3.4 seconds remaining in the game after Soderberg went for a rebound up high. Thomas was assessed a high-sticking minor.
Milan Lucic  had a pair of goals for the Bruins, who are 6-1-1 over their last eight games. The game was the third straight in which the B’s have scored three goals.
Lucic got the Bruins on the board by burying the rebound of a Jarome Iginla shot at 7:41 of the first. Later in the period, Zdeno Chara  fired a shot from the point with Lucic battling in front. Thomas tried to nab the puck with his glove, but it bounced off a body and then Thomas’ head before bouncing into the net. Though Lucic was initially credited with the goal, it was changed to Chara’s.
Lucic didn’t have to wait long to get back to 15 goals on the season, as he scored 1:46 into the second period to make it 3-0. Reilly Smith built the lead further with a power-play goal off a feed from Carl Soderberg.
Former Bruin Brad Boyes broke up Tuukka Rask ‘s shutout bid with 33 seconds left in the second period. Dmitry Kulikov made it 4-2 in the third period with a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the point that beat Rask. The goal was the Panthers’ first power-play goal of 2014.
Shawn Thornton  made it 5-2 with some impressive work out of the corner and a backhand bid that beat Thomas top-shelf. The goal was Thornton’s fourth goal of the season.
Chris Kelly  made his return to the lineup and played the first two periods on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell  and Thornton while Soderberg continued to center Daniel Paille  and Loui Eriksson on the third line. Campbell and Kelly switched lines for the third period.
The Bruins will host the Canadiens at TD Garden Thursday in the teams’ second meeting of the season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Soderberg has fed Smith for a back-door power-play goal five times this season. It had been a while since the pair had connected for such a play, as the last one prior to Tuesday was on Dec. 23 in Nashville.
— Though 15 is a more round number, the Bruins now have five players with at least 14 goals (Smith, Brad Marchand , Iginla, Patrice Bergeron , Lucic) this season and six 13-goal-scorers including Chara. With 13 goals, Chara is tied with Shea Weber  for the NHL  lead in goals among defensemen.
— The Bruins had only scored six goals in a game once prior to this three-game stretch, and now they’ve done it three times in a row. The B’s have combined for 18 goals beginning with Saturday’s trouncing of the Flyers.
— Smith now has the team lead in goals all to himself with 18 on the season. With his goal Tuesday, he improved his current point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists for eight points). Marchand and Patrice Bergeron  both saw their point streaks end at six games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Tuesday’s game was the first game since Jan. 11 (seven games) that the Bruins did not score a goal with the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith trio on the ice. Smith’s goal came on the power play.
— Some fans apparently weren’t listening when it was announced the Bruins’ second goal had been credited to Chara and not Lucic. When Lucic scored early in the second, a few fans (under 10) threw their hats onto the ice for Lucic’s second goal of the game. Whoops.