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B’s tame Panthers, 5-2

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
SUNRISE, Fla. - Glen Murray had a goal and two assists and Andrew Raycroft made 33 saves as the Bruins tamed the Florida Panthers 5-2 Thursday night. Boston received balanced contributions throughout the lineup, with Patrice Bergeron and P.J. Axelsson each tallying a goal and an assist. The win was Boston’s third consecutive, bringing their record to 3-2-0 on the year.

The Bruins were forced to play the game without captain Joe Thornton who returned to Boston for treatment on his strained back. Patrice Bergeron moved up to the top line, centering Glen Murray and Sergei Samsonov, and the line didn’t miss a beat.

Murray started the scoring at 4:53 with his fourth goal of the year on the power play to put the Bruins up 1-0. Murray jumped up to grab a Bergeron feed, quickly got the puck on the ice and fired it low to beat Roberto Luongo between the legs. Then, Tom Fitzgerald added to the Bruins lead, scoring his first goal as a Bruin at 15:51.

The excitement in the first period was not solely limited to goals. The period was a brief return to old-time hockey with two fights in the first 3:12 of the game, including a heavyweight bout between Colton Orr and Eric Cairns that had the feel of a 12-round title fight. The second fight featured Pat Leahy battling Florida’s Chris Gratton.

Niklas Hagman broke in alone with 6 seconds remaining in the first, but Andrew Raycroft made a great save, one of 15 in the period, to maintain the Bruins 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

The Bruins started the second period by chasing goaltender Roberto Luongo, the NHL's defensive player of the week, from the game on Patrice Bergeron’s power play goal at 5:26. Florida was looking for a spark when they brought in Jaime McLennan to replace Luongo and that’s exactly what they got. Florida scored two unanswered goals from Nathan Horton and Juraj Kolnik just 1:34 apart to move within one goal of Boston at 3-2.

Brad Isbister gave the Bruins the insurance goal they were looking for at 11:34 of the third, drilling home a rebound off a Brian Leetch shot. P.J. Axelsson sealed the 5-2 victory with an unassisted, empty net goal in the final minute of play.

Game notes
Boston has scored 16 goals in its three victories after scoring one in each of the first two games. …Dave Scatchard made his Boston debut after missing the first four games with a groin injury. …Earlier in the day, defenseman Nick Boynton signed a one-year contract with the Bruins.
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