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Rask and Lucic lead Bruins past Panthers

NHL.com @NHL

Milan Lucic made sure Tuukka Rask's perfect night wouldn't go to waste.

Rask stopped all 41 shots he faced for his first victory of the season and Lucic scored the game's first three goals as the Bruins blanked Florida 4-0 on Thursday night.

"I felt like a really, really busy guy," said Rask, who was 0-4-1 coming into the game while spending most of the season backing up Tim Thomas, who's off to a 10-1-0 start. Rask got the start after Thomas played Monday and Wednesday and stopped everything he saw -- including one shot off his mask.

It was his first victory since May 5, when he and the Bruins took a 3-0 series lead against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, only to lose the next four games.

Rask did some of his best work in the third period during a Boston power play while the Bruins still led just 1-0. He got Chris Higgins to fire wide on a shorthanded breakaway, then used his glove to stop Bryan Allen's wide-open blast from the slot.

"Fortunately for us, Tuukka played the way that he did and we were able to get some goals there in the third to extend the lead," said Lucic, who now has 10 goals this season.

Lucic put the game away with two goals in 15 seconds. He raced up the left side and beat Thomas Vokoun with a wrist shot over the glove at 14:42, then poked in a rebound to complete the natural hat trick.

Shawn Thornton added an insurance goal with 3:56 to play.

Florida shut out the Bruins in both of its visits to Boston last season. The Bruins finally got one past Vokoun when Lucic beat him high to the stick side at 15:37 of the first period for his eighth goal of the season. It was the Bruins' first goal at home against Florida since Feb. 24, 2009.

"The patience was there. We weren't going to break," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "It was a matter of who was going to break first."

Rask stopped 16 in the first period, including a handful of point-blank shots after some sloppy play by the Bruins. TD Garden fans showed they had regained their faith in last season's starter when they started cheering "Tuuuuk! Tuuuuk!" after he made some big saves late in the period.

"We wanted to go out there and give him a good effort and give him a win," Lucic said. "He's such a great goalie, and we're happy that we were able to get the win for him."

The Panthers went 0-for-5 on the power play, mostly due to Rask's heroics.

"Tuukka Rask was our power-play problem. It wasn't our power play," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "We generated plenty of chances on the power play. I mean, when you've got a goalie that plays like that, that's the power-play problem."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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