BOSTON–The Florida Panthers reversed many troublesome trends in reclaiming first place of the Atlantic Division with a 4-1 over the Boston Bruins Thursday night at TD Gardens.
- Beat the Bruins in Boston for the first time since 2011.
- Came from behind after trailing 1-0 in the first period
- Scored three straight goals to build a 3-1 lead then closed out the game with confidence not displayed in months
- Finally got a goal from their outstanding line of Jonathon Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir who all had been held off the scoresheet in losses to Detroit and the New York Rangers. The trio teamed up for an empty net goal in the final minute with unselfish play as any one of three could have scored by Huberdeau nudged a backhander into the cage.
Let’s hope that goal is the jumpstart needed to see more celebrations like this as the Panthers regular season now has eight games remaining.
Of course that empty net goal wouldn’t have happened without a strong game from the Jussi Jokinen, Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith line. Smith’s goal tied the game on a scramble in front. Trocheck ripped a short-handed pipe clanger that could be heard the whole to Fort Lauderdale and Jokinen also added a goal. The Smith and Trocheck’s goals were their 24th of of the season, tying them with Jagr for the team lead. Jokinen briefly grabbed the team lead in points with 56. Jagr’s assist on Huberdeau’s goal put him back in the lead with 56 points, technically first based on the tie breaker of most goals scored.
Roberto Luongo played his best game in two months, yielding a goal to up and coming Panther killer Ryan Spooner while turning aside 34 of 35 Bruins shots on the evening. Highlights of the game (as well as game photos on this page) courtesy of NHL.com
Here are the updated Atlantic Division standings. If the Panthers win in Tampa Bay Saturday night, they will finish the evening in first place, regardless of what the Lightning do in their game tonight with the New York Islanders. Five straight losses have left the Bruins five points behind the first place Panthers.
Our updated Jagr-O-Meter now shows Jagr with 1858 points as the NHL’s third-all time leading scorer trails Mark Messier by 29 points for second all-time.