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game recap

Bruins win, gain ground in Atlantic Division

Patrice Bergeron scores two goals against Panthers

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are one point out of second place in the Atlantic Division after defeating the Florida Panthers 5-2 at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Bruins trail the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators having played one more game. Toronto defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 and Ottawa lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.

Boston (42-30-6) leads the Tampa Bay Lightning by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference; the Lightning have one game in hand after losing to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in overtime.


WATCH: All Panthers vs. Bruins highlights


Tuukka Rask made 24 saves for the Bruins, who won their fourth straight game after losing four straight. Boston has outscored opponents 13-4 during the winning streak.

"You want to build confidence this time of the year," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We hit a lull, it was well-documented, last week. I thought we played some good hockey during those losses, [things] didn't go our way. We kind of gutted it out defensively the last three or four games and kept it out of our net and made a conscious effort to do that."

Video: FLA@BOS: Bergeron pots a rebound at the doorstep

Patrice Bergeron scored two goals, and Noel Acciari, David Krejci and Brad Marchand scored for Boston.

Despite outshooting the Bruins 13-6 in the third period, the Panthers (33-34-11) lost their fourth straight game. Reto Berra made 24 saves, and Thomas Vanek and Jaromir Jagr scored.

"I mean for sure it was the best effort [in the past four games]," Panthers coach Tom Rowe said. "We had opportunities, decent power plays, and we just didn't capitalize on our chances down low. We didn't have enough traffic in front of Rask, and if you're going to beat him then you have to get bodies there all the time."

Acciari made it 1-0 at 17:03 of the first period with his second goal in the past three games.

Video: FLA@BOS: Vanek scores after a fortunate bounce

Vanek tied it 1-1 on a double deflection off his body at 1:38 of the second period. Bergeron scored at 7:56 to give Boston a 2-1 lead before Jagr tied it 2-2 on the power play at 9:53. Krejci gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead at 14:30.

Marchand scored during a power play with 1:44 remaining in the third period for a 4-2 lead. Bergeron scored an empty-net goal with 12 seconds left for a 5-2 lead.


Goal of the game

Berra left his crease to play Bruins defenseman Torey Krug's long pass and keep the puck away from Boston forward David Pastrnak. But Krejci intercepted Berra's pass and hit the open net with a one-timer from the right point.

Video: FLA@BOS: Krejci takes advantage of a turnover


Save of the game

Rask was on his stomach when he stopped Florida forward Jonathan Huberdeau's wraparound attempt at 15:35 of the third period.

Video: FLA@BOS: Rask dives across to turn away Huberdeau


Highlight of the game

Acciari blocked Florida defenseman Jakub Kindl's first-period shot at the Boston blue line and took off on a breakaway. Kindl hooked Acciari high in the Florida zone, but Acciari kept going and beat Berra through the five-hole.

Video: FLA@BOS: Acciari beats Berra five-hole on a breakaway


Unsung performance of the game

Florida forward Reilly Smith got behind Boston's defense and drove to the net alone, but defenseman Kevan Miller dove and stick-checked Smith with 2:13 left in the third period to prevent a dangerous shot.


They said it

"Sometimes it works; when you get a shooting lane you've got to throw it out there and see what happens. But definitely they didn't get a whole lot in the first two periods. They got two goals, but that's about it. It's never easy when the pucks get through and they're bouncing all over the place, and today it seemed like both sides the puck was bouncing a bit." -- Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made 13 saves in the third period after making 11 saves on 13 shots in the first two


"I appreciate that, you know, getting that and people sticking around and applauding me when I came out. That's probably the closest I have been to getting choked up in a bit, so I mean it's emotional but I had a good run." -- Panthers forward Shawn Thornton, who is retiring after this season, on being voted the third star after his last game in Boston 


Need to know

Thornton played 480 games for the Bruins from 2007-14 and was a member of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011. ... Forward Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers' second-leading scorer with 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists), missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Bruins forward Frank Vatrano missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes played two shifts in the first period before leaving with a lower-body injury.


What's next

Panthers: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV)

Bruins: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)


Video: Bergeron scores twice in 5-2 win vs. Panthers

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