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Opportunistic Bruins Take Two Points from Panthers

Rask makes 24 saves and B's go 7-for-7 on PK

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

SUNRISE, Fla. - Postgame victory music was blaring throughout the Bruins' locker room on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center, after a 2-1 victory over the Panthers gave them a 2-0-0 start to their road trip.

But there was also the feeling hanging in the air that they knew that the win wasn't quite perfect.

There were verbal 'pats on the back' to Tuukka Rask and the penalty killers, who went a perfect 7-for-7 on the night, along with the opportunistic Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore, who used a penalty shot and a shorthanded chance, respectively, to get the Bruins on the board.

The Bruins also knew that there would be plenty of work to do the next day in Tampa.

"I think while certainly the first period wasn't our best, to put it mildly, I think Tuukka was amazing," said Moore, whose goal stood as the game-winner and gave him his third of the season. "I think we picked it up a little bit, but still, I don't think we created as much offensive zone time as we're expecting and what we want."

"I thought our penalty kill and goaltending was obviously the strength."

With 3:20 to go in the third period, and the Bruins holding a 2-0 lead, they were tasked with their final kill of the night - a 6-on-4 situation - with penalty killer Adam McQuaid in the box and the Panthers pushing for the equalizer.

The Black & Gold finished the night with 26 penalty minutes.

"Obviously it's not ideal - you don't want to be spending a lot of minutes of the game down a man, but I thought we did a good job with it, to kind of read and react together - especially at the end there," said Moore, who logged 3:38 on the PK.

"I thought the group that weathered that power play with the pulled goalie, Bergy, Marchy, Brandon and Zee and Tuukka, did a great job."

Brandon Carlo logged the most shorthanded time with 8:14. Patrice Bergeron led the way for forwards with 6:25. But no penalty killer was better than the one who's out there the entire time.

Rask finished the night with 33 saves, and now owns a 5-0-0 record to start the season. His shutout ended with 4:35 to play in the third, off a perfect point-blank shot from the slot.

"He looked good," Julien said of his netminder. "He looked good the other night [in Detroit], but the other night we were better in front of him, so he didn't have to do as much work as he did tonight."

Rask's shutout streak came to an end at 131:11, with his previous goal allowed coming from Kyle Palmieri at 4:14 of the third period on Oct. 20 against the New Jersey Devils.

"We couldn't quite play as well, we didn't play as tight as the other night," said Julien. "There was a lot of space out there for them to use their speed, so that created more work for Tuukka but certainly he looked good, and probably the main reason we're standing here with two points."

Rask's ability to control the pace of the game can often be overlooked because of how calm he makes it look.

"We had to defend a lot and it's not easy to do that," said Bergeron. "And I thought our PK did a good job, and Tuukka definitely was our best player."

Bergeron had been questionable for the night's game, after missing the pregame skate with maintenance.

"He came in and did the warmup, and said he was ready to go," said Julien.

"I felt all right," said Bergeron, who logged 18:43 on the night. "I mean, I was a little sore so we had a little maintenance morning, I guess, and took the morning skate off, and I was good enough to play."

It's a different ailment than what he dealt with at the beginning of the season that caused him to miss the first three games.

"Hopefully it's going to be gone soon," said Bergeron. "I felt all right on the ice, and it's one of those where we're all in this, we all go through the same thing, and it's about battling through it."

The Bruins had to battle through a tough start, in which they put just three shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes. One of those came from Marchand on his penalty shot.

At 3:53 into the first, a passing play from Danton Heinen to Bergeron to Marchand saw Reilly Smith hook Marchand in front to prevent the scoring chance.

With the penalty shot awarded, Marchand slid the puck to his backhand, frozen Roberto Luongo, and put it top shelf. The winger is now 4-for-5 on penalty shots in his career.

"You know, you want to be able to score on chances like that," said Marchand. "It obviously doesn't happen often and it's a big moment in a game, so it was nice to get that."

Video: BOS@FLA: Marchand buries penalty shot with backhand

Though Bergeron was able to play in the game, the Bruins were without David Backes and David Pastrnak up front. Pastrnak was serving the final game of his two-game suspension, while Backes remains in Boston recovering from surgery on his elbow.

"I think the fact that we're getting points when we're missing a few guys is big," said Marchand. "That's what you have to be able to do - the fact that we had a really good second period, and held the off in the third, so I think we've got to be happy with the win."

The Bruins regrouped after a slow first period, but found themselves on the penalty kill early in the second.

At 6:16 in, Moore made it a 2-0 game when his shorthanded off-angle shot fired in and out of the twine, with play continuing. Video review show definitely that the puck found the back of the net.

Video: BOS@FLA: Moore rattles iron for shorthanded goal

Despite three penalty kills in the second, the Bruins outshot the Panthers 14-7, and 34-26 overall. The Bruins also blocked 20 of Florida's shot attempts.

But taking that many penalties isn't going to work every night, and the Bruins know that.

"We battled really hard, our game got better as it went along, I thought our second was better, and even our third, but those penalties," said Julien. "Just - you have to battle, but at the same time, you're not getting the momentum and opportunities that you'd like to have offensively."

While the Black & Gold will look to ramp up offensively - and the return of Pastrnak on Thursday night should help in that regard - they have been holding the fort defensively. They'll need that again against the Lightning to close out a successful three-game trip.

"Tonight, we made the most of whatever we had," Julien said Tuesday. "And those two points are going to be just as important as any two this year, so we'll take it."

Video: Julien, Bruins discuss 2-1 win over Panthers

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