The Florida Panthers are on a back to back “Hallo-weekend” home stand here in Sunrise, where last night they played host to the Boston Bruins. It was a hard fought battle which saw the Bruins take the coveted 2 points in a 3-1 victory, giving the Panthers their second loss at home. The Panthers are suffering from the loss of two of their top players, with both Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr out with injuries.
The first period was all about Tuukka Rask. Both teams notched only 7 shots on goal apiece, but those that the Boston net-minder faced were denied in spectacular fashion, including 2 rapid stops on Quinton Howden who attempted to stuff in his own rebound, and a kick save on a Jonathan Huberdeau slap shot. Brad Marchand opened the scoring midway through the first on a Boston power play with his third goal of the season, after former Bruin Reilly Smith got the gate for hooking. Jimmy Hayes then committed hooking against his former team, giving Florida their first power play of the game. The Panthers were unable to convert, however, and the Bruins went to the locker room with a 1-0 lead after 1.
Most of the action occurred in the second period. Boston looked to blow the scoring open, with another goal from Marchand at 7:07 to double the lead to 2-0; and one from Zdeno Chara at 9:13, his first of the season on the power play, to extend it to 3-0. The Panthers were finally able to staunch Boston’s momentum as the Bruins got in some penalty trouble of their own. Nick Bjugstad’s slap shot got the Panthers on the board with a 5-on-3 power play goal while Colin Miller and Joe Morrow were in the box for hooking and tripping, respectively. While the goal was enough to halt the Bruins’ momentum, the Panthers’ failure to convert on another 2-man advantage shortly afterward quickly stifled their own energy. The teams left the ice after the second, with Florida trailing 3-1.
If the first period was marked by impressive goaltending from Rask, the same could be said of Roberto Luongo in the third period. Luongo kept the puck on the right side of the goal line, stopping all 14 shots in the third, including one memorable save in the blue paint. Rask kept his team in the win column, with 18 saves of his own in the final frame. Gerard Gallant used his timeout with 2:21 left to play to try and rally his team to overcome the 2 goal deficit. Marchand, who would eventually be named first star of the game for his two goals, got 5 minutes and a game misconduct for boarding Dmitry Kulikov just 15 seconds later. Kulikov was shoved into the Boston bench and came away bleeding. Even with the extended power play, the Panthers could not come back, and the Bruins winning streak was extended to 3 games.
Reilly Smith weighed in on the agony of failing to finish chances and the Panthers’ recent penalty trouble
“It’s tough because your frustration builds when you keep getting good chances and they don’t go in the back of the net. We’ve got to do a better job of staying out of the box and getting to the net.”
After the game, the Florida Panthers hosted a trick-or-treating event on the ice where fans got to meet Panthers players and personalities. Vincent Trocheck, Erik Gubranson, Stanley C. Panther, and arena host Andrea Ocampo greeted trick-or-treaters with candy and took the time to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Families were able to participate in this event with a $2.00 donation to the Florida Panthers Foundation, which aims to support children and families of South Florida through partnerships, grants, and community programs that facilitate enhanced fitness, health and education. This was the first year the Panthers have hosted this event, and they expect it to be even more successful than the huge hit it was last night in years to come.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 31, 2015
The Florida Panthers are back in action tonight against the Washington Capitals, where they will look to scare up a Halloween victory.