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David Krejci hat trick leads Bruins past Panthers on eve of trade deadline 03.04.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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On the same day that Tim Thomas found out he would become Roberto Luongo‘s teammate, his former team handed him a loss as the Bruins defeated the Panthers, 4-1, Tuesday at TD Garden.

David Krejci had a hat trick for the B’s, with the first goal coming off a Tom Gilbert giveaway by the net at 7:29 of the first period. A Jarome Iginla goal at 11:01 of the period sent the B’s into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead, which Krejci added to in the second with a beauty of a shot from the high slot.

The Bruins were without Loui Eriksson, who was kept out of the lineup with what Claude Julien called a “minor issue.” Jordan Caron filled in for Eriksson and picked up the primary assist on Iginla’s goal. Caron fired a shot off Thomas’ mask off the rush, with Iginla getting the rebound and sending it under a diving Thomas’ glove.

Chad Johnson‘s shutout bid was broken up with 7:13 remaining in the game, when a lazy Brian Campbell backhander from the point went off Matt Bartkowski‘s stick and in. Johnson still picked up the win, improving to 12-4-1 on the season. Krejci registered an empty-netter with 13.3 seconds left.

The Bruins will next play Thursday against the Capitals, though the roster may look different after Wednesday’s trade deadline.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- With his hat trick showing Tuesday, Krejci now has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) over his last 15 games.

- Shawn Thornton got in his 100th fight as a member of the Bruins when he dropped the gloves with Krys Barch in the second period. It was fitting that Thornton’s 100th dance partner with the B’s was Barch, as the two are no strangers to one another. The former AHL teammates have now fought each other eight times at the NHL level. Barch also fought Milan Lucic Tuesday.

- Torey Krug‘s ice time was back up after he played a season-low 12:50 in Sunday night’s game against the Rangers, a game that featured no Boston power plays. Krug played 15:07 Tuesday and nearly picked up a goal in the second period when a shot trickled through Thomas but was cleared by a Florida player before it went into the net.

- Johnson was rather shaky last Wednesday as Boston suffered a 5-4 overtime loss in its first game back from the break, so Tuesday’s victory marked an encouraging bounceback effort. He benefited from at least three hit posts Tuesday, but the Bruins will take a one-goal performance however they can get it.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Though Caron played well against the Panthers, he also took a pair of penalties. Caron was whistled for tripping Brandon Pirri in the first period and took a boarding penalty in the final seconds of the second period.

- Speaking of penalties, the Bruins didn’t have any power plays Tuesday and have only had one over their last two games. They’ve managed to score nine goals in that span and remain the best 5-on-5 team in the league, but it’s a lot easier to generate offense when you spend some actual time on the man advantage.

Panthers trade for Roberto Luongo, making him teammates with Tim Thomas 03.04.14 at 4:41 pm ET
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According to Renaud Lavoie, the Canucks have traded Roberto Luongo to the Panthers.

 

Luongo played five seasons in Florida before going to Vancouver, but the best storyline here is that it means he and Tim Thomas are now teammates. The showdown between the two became the central storyline in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, when the two combined for four shutouts in the seven-game series.

Luongo, who was overly complimentary of Thomas prior to the series, criticized Thomas’ style of play after Game 5 of the series. When his criticism made waves, Luongo famously said he had been pumping Thomas’ tires, while Thomas hadn’t complimented him.

“As far as Luongo goes, actually, all that did was give me confidence that his head was in the wrong place, because I was focused on stopping the puck and he was thinking about my style,”€ Thomas told WEEI.com the following season.

“I realized that I had an advantage over him,’€ Thomas added. ‘€œ’€The challenge on my end was to keep that advantage.”€

Goalie Jacob Markstrom is reportedly part of the package headed to Vancouver in the trade.

Read More: Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas,
Flyers trade for Andrew MacDonald 03.04.14 at 4:08 pm ET
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Andrew MacDonald, a left-shot defenseman who is seventh in the league in time on ice and would have been a potential fit with the Bruins, has been traded from the Islanders to the Flyers, a source confirmed Tuesday. The trade was first reported by Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

The Islanders had previously sought a first-round pick for MacDonald, a free agent to be, but Philadelphia got him without surrendering a first-round pick.

MacDonald becomes the first of the bigger name left shot defensemen to move. Dallas traded injured righty Stephane Robidas to Anaheim earlier in the day.

Zdeno Chara is in a pretty weird commercial 03.04.14 at 3:49 pm ET
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The Bruins are no strangers to being in weird commercials. This time, it’s Zdeno Chara‘s turn.

This one’s been out since late last month, but we didn’t come across it until it started making the rounds Tuesday.

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Report: Chris Phillips, Senators moving closer to new contract 03.04.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators and defenseman Chris Phillips are moving closer towards common ground on the length of a potential contract extension.

 

Phillips, 35, is in the final year of his contract and could be put on the trade market if he is not re-signed. The former first overall pick is acting as his own agent.

The Bruins are believed to be interested in his services, as he is a big and strong defenseman who could push Matt Bartkowski for his spot on the left side of Boston’s second pairing in the postseason, but he would likely only become available if the Senators feel they won’t be able to sign him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

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Regardless of what trades bring, Bruins should hold on to Matt Bartkowski 03.04.14 at 12:44 pm ET
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The Bruins nearly traded Matt Bartkowski a season ago, and it’s a good thing they didn’t. This season, they shouldn’t come that close.

Boston’s biggest need at the trade deadline is obvious: a left-shot defenseman who could play top-4 minutes. While such a player would be valuable if the B’s want to lessen Zdeno Chara‘s workload in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs, the biggest reason why would be to have a more experienced and dependable option than Bartkowski. That doesn’t mean the B’s should be in a hurry to move Bartkowski for whoever they may acquire.

Right now, Bartkowski is in line to be Boston’s second-pairing left shot defenseman behind Chara. It’s a role that was previously occupied by Andrew Ference in the postseason and one that Dennis Seidenberg may have assumed had he not been lost for the season with a torn ACL.

If Bartkowski ends up playing that role, it won’t be anything new, as he’s been a top-4 guy since Seidenberg went down and he served in the role last postseason against the Rangers. Among the Bruins currently playing, Bartkowski is third on the team behind Chara and Johnny Boychuk with 19:20 of ice time per night, and he has played 22 minutes or more in four of the team’s last six games.

“He’€™s logging some pretty big minutes now and he continues to get better,” Claude Julien said Tuesday. “I like his poise with the puck, he’€™s been carrying a lot of pucks out of our own end which has facilitated our breakouts. You know, he’€™s defending better all the time, he’€™s getting that confidence as far as being able to battle I the corner and that’€™s just the young player getting more ice and more experience and feeling more comfortable with the whole situation.”

Even if the Bruins get someone to upgrade his spot, the Bruins would be wise to hold on to Bartkowski. They have a group of young defensemen (David Warsofsky would be a good trade candidate given that Torey Krug serves in the role that Warsofsky figures to play at the NHL level) and could move one of them while keeping Bartkowski.

After all, if it is depth that Peter Chiarelli seeks, a player like Bartkowksi who has proven himself capable of handling the big stage — his only NHL goal remains a rather big one in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season — is worth keeping around.

“When you sit here today you understand how important it was for [Bartkowski and Krug] to play in that series in New York,” Julien said. “They handled the pressure, they handled the playoff pressure that comes with it very well. I thought they did a great job, they were poised. Torey played a big role in that series, scoring some big goals and Bart did the same thing. We had some young Ds that really excelled in that series and today you feel more comfortable going in to the playoffs with those guys because they’€™ve been through it.”

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Loui Eriksson out Tuesday vs. Panthers, but absence isn’t trade-related 03.04.14 at 11:48 am ET
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Loui Eriksson will not play in Tuesday’s game against the Panthers due to a “minor issue,” according to B’s coach Claude Julien. Eriksson and Adam McQuaid were the only players missing from the team’s morning skate.

Though the timing of Eriksson’s absence has led to speculation that the team could be trading the player, a team source indicated Tuesday that Eriksson’s absence doesn’t have anything to do with Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Julien would not specify whether Eriksson was injured, however, as he repeatedly said that Eriksson is out with an “issue” and that he will play on Thursday. With Eriksson out, Jordan Caron will play on the team’s third line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly.

As for McQuaid, Julien said the team will make a decision by the end of the week as to whether they will have the player proceed with his rehab from a lower body injury or shut him down for the time being.

Tuesday’s game will be the 21st Eriksson has missed this season with the Bruins, with the other 20 absences due to a pair of concussions suffered. In his previous five seasons, Eriksson missed a total of three games with the Stars, all of which came in the 2010-11 season.

Eriksson is in his first season with the B’s after being the centerpiece of the package shipped to Boston in last July 4′s trade with Dallas. He has two more seasons on his contract after this season with a reasonable cap hit of $4.25 million a season.

In 40 games for Boston this season, Eriksson has six goals and 16 assists for 22 points and a plus-11 rating.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Loui Eriksson,
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