Cats Win Streak Halted By Bruins
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:54 AM
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
The road now beckons for the Panthers.
Reminded Saturday evening at BankAtlantic Center why the Bruins are the top team in the Eastern Conference after being shutout 4-0, the Panthers prepared for an 8-day road trip that begins Monday in Ottawa and doesn’t conclude until next Sunday in Vancouver.
For the Panthers, the trip is a chance to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference against four teams who are all .500 or better on the season. And they’ll do it having won their last two road games.
“We’ve playing well on the road this year, but these are all tough road games,” said Brett Mclean. “We’ve fought ourselves back into the playoff race. Even though its early December, we’ve got to get points so we can get in the top eight. So we’ll see…and we’ve got to pack our toques.”
The trip will begin in Ottawa, where the Panthers won earlier this year 3-1.
“We’ve shown we can do it (on the road),” said Gregory Campbell. “We went to Anaheim and played a good game (3-1 victory), we beat Ottawa in their building. It’s a huge game for us. If we can play well (in Ottawa) and get two points it will be huge for us going to Edmonton and Calgary.”
The Panthers, who had not lost in regulation in six consecutive games while taking 10 of a possible 12 points in those games, couldn’t keep their streaks alive against the Bruins, who are now 18-4-4 on the season and were led in part Saturday by goalie Manny Fernandez, who stopped all 27 shots he faced. His biggest saves came on shots from Jay Bouwmeester and Gregory Campbell. He also got some help from the crossbar on a shot from Nick Tarnasky.
Craig Anderson stopped three of 27 shots before leaving the game at 7:13 of the third period after being run into by Patrice Bergeron. Anderson wanted to stay in the game, but was taken out and replaced by Tomas Vokoun
, who allowed a goal on five shots.
The Panthers just couldn’t seem to keep any pressure on the Bruins, who got goals from Phil Kessel (power play), Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler and Shane Hnidy.
With four rookies in the lineup – Shawn Matthias
, Kenndal McArdle
, Michael Frolik
and Janis Sprukts (called up Saturday morning from Rochester) – the Panthers seemed to be fighting uphill much of the evening.
“They took advantage of our roster, dismantled us fairly easily,” said Panthers’ coach Peter DeBoer.
“We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Stephen Weiss
“They didn’t do anything special, but we couldn’t get anything going,” reiterated Bouwmeester.
“I think the key to our success lately was we were able to outwork teams and work them in our offensive zone, and they kind of did those things right back at us and matched us shift to shift,” McLean said.
The Panthers came out well and matched the Bruins early until Ryder scored at 9:02 of the opening period despite being draped by Campbell.
“He got the shot away,” Campbell said. “So that tells me I have to do a better job.”
After Kessel scored on the power play in the second, the Bruins got two goals in the third period.
“Give them their due,” said Campbell of the Bruins. They play physical. They’re well coached. On the other side, we probably could have battled a little harder.”
missed Saturday’s game with a groin injury… The Bruins were without Marco Sturm and Aaron Ward… Bergeron won 13 of 19 faceoffs for the Bruins… Karlis Skrastins had three blocked shots… Kamil Kreps had three shots…