Bergeron paces Bruins to win over Panthers
BOSTON -- Patrice Bergeron scored his 150th career goal in the first period before adding an empty-net tally as host Boston posted its fourth win in five outings with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Captain Zdeno Chara netted the game's first goal for the second straight contest. Fourth-liner Shawn Thornton also tallied and Tuukka Rask turned aside 29 shots as the Bruins rebounded from their late third-period collapse versus Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Shawn Matthias scored a short-handed goal and Scott Clemmensen finished with 28 saves for the Panthers, who are winless in five games (0-4-1).
Chara opened the scoring 3:55 into the first period after unleashing a blast from just outside the left faceoff circle. Bergeron doubled the advantage over 11 minutes later, converting Brad Marchand's feed on the doorstep.
Matthias trimmed the deficit 3:10 into the second period after extending his body to secure a loose puck from rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton before his backhander beat Rask. Thornton answered with 7:17 remaining in the third by chasing down the loose puck following his initial shot and slapping it home from outside the left post.
GAME NOTEBOOK: With his 246th victory, Claude Julien moved past Milt Schmidt for the second-most wins in Boston history. Art Ross leads the Original Six club with 361 victories. ... Florida RW Kris Versteeg will have season-ending knee surgery following a hit from Tampa Bay's Radko Gudas, who was making his NHL debut on Tuesday. ... The Panthers are 0-for-16 on the power play in March after failing on both opportunities Thursday. The Bruins have killed off their last 22 short-handed situations.