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Panthers beat Bruins 1-0 in shooout

by Brian Hunter /

Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun is in the zone. Regulation, overtime, shootout, it didn't matter -- the Boston Bruins couldn't beat him.

Vokoun stopped 40 shots as well as four shootout attempts and Cory Stillman finally put an end to a scoreless stalemate by beating Tim Thomas in the fourth round of the penalty-shot tiebreaker as the Panthers claimed a 1-0 win at TD Garden on Thursday night.

It was Vokoun's third shutout in his last four starts -- after a 1-7-1 start to his season, he stopped all 34 shots in St. Louis on Oct. 31 and followed that with a 32-save blanking of Carolina four nights later. After a 4-1 loss in Washington on Nov. 6, Vokoun turned in perhaps his best performance since making 52 saves to beat Detroit in the season opener.

He somehow kept the Bruins off the board during a second period in which they took 19 shots to just one for the Panthers.

"That second period -- there is no way to describe it," said Florida coach Peter DeBoer, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak. "Our desperation was high in the third, though, and I thought we outplayed them."

Thomas, who made 23 saves and was also credited with a shutout, would beg to differ. He's gone 1-3-2 in his last six starts despite giving up just six goals in that span. In three of those games the Bruins have been shut out, and they were in danger of being kept off the scoreboard in a fourth before scoring with less than a minute left in regulation.

"We deserved the two points," Thomas said. "They got some chances, but we got more. It is a little easier to take knowing that we won the last two."

Boston went 2-0-2 on a four-game homestand, with Tuukka Rask defeating Buffalo and Thomas blanking Pittsburgh 3-0 in his most recent start prior to Thursday.

Steven Reinprecht nearly scored on Florida's first shootout attempt, but Thomas swiped the puck out of the crease after it bounced off and over him. He followed with stops on Rostislav Olesz and Stephen Weiss.

Vokoun was up to the challenge, though, denying Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Michael Ryder in succession.

"We survived the second period," Vokoun said. "After the first shootout attempt didn't go in, I thought, 'Oh, my God. It's never going to go in.'"

But it finally did when Stillman skated in on Thomas following Vokoun's save on Ryder and beat him to the glove side on his first shootout attempt of the season, giving the Panthers the extra point.

"When you get outshot 19-1 and you are chasing the puck the whole period, there is not much good," Stillman said. "But whether you have 50 shots or no shots, it was still a tie game after two."

Florida outshot Boston 9-6 in the first period and enjoyed an extended 5-on-3 advantage after Brad Marchand and Chara took penalties 50 seconds apart. Thomas turned aside the Panthers' best opportunity by diving across the crease and getting the shaft of his stick on a drive by Nathan Horton.

Material from wire services was used in this report

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