Bruins beat Florida for fifth straight win
SUNRISE, Fla. — Backup goalie Chad Johnson beat the Florida Panthers for the second time in six days, leading the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 victory Sunday night at the BB&T Center.
The Bruins couldn’t score on Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo in the first half of the game, but they got four shots past him in the final 30:02.
Boston scored twice within one minute in the third period, and those goals — by center Patrice Bergeron and right winger Jarome Iginla — proved to be the difference.
The Bruins also got an empty-net goal from center Chris Kelly with 1:08 left.
Johnson made 20 saves to win for the seventh time in his past nine starts. He is 13-3-1 in what is already the best season of his young career.
The Bruins earned their fifth consecutive win, putting them one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the battle for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers and Bruins played a scoreless first period. Luongo made 12 saves, while Johnson saved seven shots.
The Panthers scored first, tallying seven minutes into the second period. Right winger Jimmy Hayes — using his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame to park himself in front of the net — slapped in a rebound off a shot by center Nick Bjugstad.
Hayes, a Boston native, had the left side of the net wide open and did not miss, earning his sixth goal of the season.
At 9:58 of the second period, Boston tied the score 1-1 on a power-play goal by center Carl Soderberg, his 12th of the season.
Soderberg got a tip-in off a slap shot by defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was acquired on Wednesday from the Philadelphia Flyers and made his Boston debut Sunday.
The power play was created when the Panthers were ruled to have too many men on the ice.
As soon as the goal was scored, Luongo pointed at the Bruins, arguing either that Soderberg was in the crease or that he scored due to a kick. However, after a video review, the goal stood.
Boston nearly took the lead early in the third period, but Luongo stopped center Gregory Campbell on a breakaway.
With 12:52 left in the third, Luongo came up big again, stopping center Brad Marchand, who was alone in front.
Thirty seconds later, the Bruins beat Luongo on a goal by defenseman Torey Krug. He was set up by Marchand, who spun around and delivered a perfect pass to Krug.
Boston made it 3-1 with 8:39 left in the third period on Bergeron’s 18th goal of the season. Bergeron was parked in the slot when he got a perfect pass from Loui Eriksson.
Florida cut its deficit to 3-2 when Hayes poked a loose puck past Johnson with 8:10 left. Center Jonathan Huberdeau got the assist.
Iginla then took a cross-ice pass and beat Luongo high to the stick side with 7:47 to go, sealing Florida’s fate.
Luongo ended the night with 37 saves.
Smith ends shootout
Saturday night, Reilly Smith scored the lone goal of the shootout in the seventh round as the visiting Bruins edged Tampa Bay, 4-3.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg each recorded a goal and an assist while Daniel Paille also tallied for the Bruins. After a scoreless overtime and 6½ rounds of the shootout, Smith slid the puck between Ben Bishop’s pads for the winner and Tuukka Rask turned aside 17 shots as Boston extended its winning streak against the Lightning to eight games.
Ondrej Palat scored and set up a goal while defenseman Mark Barberio and Valtteri Filppula each added a tally for Tampa Bay. Bishop made 29 saves for the Lightning, who lost after holding a 2-0 lead for the third time in the last six games.
Palat scooped up the rebound of Tyler Johnson’s try and scored while short-handed 27 seconds into the second period and Barberio’s deflected shot squirted through Rask at 4:13. Paille wheeled in front and swept a backhander past Bishop at 6:58 and Soderberg scored on a breakaway 1:31 later to forge a 2-2 tie.
Filppula knocked home a cross-ice pass from Palat only 62 seconds after Soderberg’s tally to give Tampa Bay the lead heading into the third period. Boychuk drilled a shot from the right point that beat Bishop to the stick side 8:11 into the third to send it into overtime.