Two points were sure to be hard to come by with the injury-decimated Panthers taking on the Bruins in an important divisional matchup on Saturday night. That was the separation between the 2 teams inside the Atlantic entering the game, and the Panthers had an opportunity to tie the Bruins in points with a win.
Prior to the game, the Panthers recalled Sam Brittain to back up James Reimer, who made his 2nd start in as many days, following an injury in warm-ups on Friday to Roberto Luongo. Nick Bjugstad was placed on the injured reserve with an apparent groin injury and is expected to miss about 2 weeks.
Denis Malgin drew back into the lineup after sitting out the 2-1 victory over the Predators while Jared McCann moved into the 2nd-line center position in place of the injured Bjugstad.
The Bruins didn’t waste too much time getting on the board with Brad Marchand scoring a shorthanded goal on the Panthers’ first power play of the game. Keith Yandle tried playing the puck towards the net from the point, but Marchand blocked the attempt and broke the other way.
Boston added two more goals in the 2nd period off the sticks off David Backes and Marchand for the second time before Riley Nash iced things with a sharp angle shot that snuck between James Reimer and the near post.
It was tough sledding for Florida all night as they went 0 for 3 on a power play which looked as bad as it has all season, and that included an abysmal 5-on-3 opportunity in the 1st period.
Reimer made 33 saves on 37 shots while Tuukka Rask improved to 19-3-1 in his career against the Panthers, shutting them out with 25 easy saves.
“He’s a great goalie, there’s no doubt about it,” said Aaron Ekblad of Rask. “He’s had our number for a while now.”
The Bruins are now 4-0 against the Panthers this season – with one meeting remaining between the two teams on April 1st – and have won 17 of the past 20 games in the series.
“It’s too bad,” said Reimer. “Like I said, we’ve got a lot of games here to play. We’ll take our game and not worry about anything else. Obviously in a perfect world we’d like to be more successful against those teams, but we’re still in it.”
Greg McKegg joined the growing list of injuries for the Panthers when he left the game in the 2nd period with an upper-body injury and did not return. The team is already without Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex Petrovic, and Seth Griffith, in addition to the aforementioned Bjugstad and Luongo.
“We’ve got an awfully large list of injured guys out [of the lineup],” said Rowe. “We ask our guys to give it everything they can, and they have and they’ll continue to do that. Tonight was one of those nights when you’re playing a real good team with a full lineup and a real structured system.”
The Panthers have scored 3 goals in their last 3 games and have lost 6 of their last 10 games, which included a stretch of 8 of 9 games on home ice.