Krejci hat trick lifts Bruins past Panthers
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins may or may not make a trade before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. But Tuesday night, with trades flying around all over the league, the Bruins went about their business and rode center David Krejci’s hat trick to a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers.
Earlier in the day, the Panthers, who lost five of their last six games, pulled off a shocker when they re-acquired goaltender Roberto Luongo in one of two trades. Then, former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was left pretty much alone in the Florida net and did his best to keep things respectable.
It was Boston’s second straight win overall and seventh straight over Florida, four of them this season, by a combined 17-6 count.
Boston goaltender Chad Johnson made 23 saves — and the Panthers hit four posts — and lost a shutout bid with 7:13 left. He is 12-3-1 this season, including 7-0 at home.
Krejci cashed in on two giveaways by Florida defensemen for his first two goals and then hit the open net with his 16th goal of the season in the last 15 seconds of the game. Right winger Jarome Iginla delivered his 19th goal of the season for the Bruins.
Thomas, losing for the third time in as many games against his old team this season, kept things from being a lot worse, making 35 saves, including a late stop that temporarily deprived Krejci of the hat trick.
Iginla also had an assist and has 19 points in the last 12 games. Krejci has 16 points over the same span while the line’s left winger, Milan Lucic, has 14.
Defenseman Brian Campbell’s long backhander hit the stick of Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski and beat Johnson — Campbell’s sixth goal of the season.
The Bruins, who need a defenseman to replace the injured Dennis Seidenberg (out for the year) came in three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top record in the Eastern Conference, the lead down to one pending Pittsburgh’s game at Nashville.
Notes: The Panthers also sent defenseman Mike Weaver to the Montreal Canadiens for a fifth-round draft pick and put goalie Scott Clemmensen and center Scott Gomez on waivers. Clemmensen dressed as the backup Tuesday. ... Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson was out with what coach Claude Julien called “a minor issue.” Eriksson is expected to play Thursday’s home game against the Washington Capitals. Jordan Caron replaced Eriksson, playing for the first time since Jan. 17. ... The Panthers signed right wing Brad Boyes to a two-year contract extension. ... Florida opens a three-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. The Bruins visit Florida on Sunday. ... A scoring change credited Boston center Gregory Campbell with a Saturday goal originally given to right wing Shawn Thornton.