Forward David Booth scores the first of his two goals against the Boston Bruins in a pre-season game in Rochester, NY (Credit: Kris Murante - Democrat and Chronicle)
(Rochester, NY)…The Florida Panthers defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a head-to-head NHL preseason matchup tonight at The Blue Cross Arena. With the win, the Panthers improve to (2-0) in the preseason, while the Bruins fall to (1-1).
Former Amerk David Booth (2+0) led the offense for Florida tonight, scoring the first two goals of the game and of his preseason. Winger Michael Frolik (0+2) also added two helpers in the game and former Bruin Dennis Wideman (1+0) scored what became the game-winner for the Panthers.
"Big hits. Big saves. It was an entertaining game," said Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer. "From a coaching point of view, I think we have a lot of work to do but it was an entertaining game."
The Panthers’ strong offensive effort was backed behind a shared goaltending effort. Netminder Tomas Vokoun got the start and only allowed one goal against the visiting Bruins. Then, halfway through the second period, Rochester American’s Tyler Plante went “between the pipes.” Plante had two key stops in the third period that kept Boston from evening things up. Between the two, 27 of 29 shots were blocked.
Boston’s Steve Kampfer (1+0) and Jeff LoVecchio (1+0) both had goals for the Bruins, while goaltender Nolan Schaefer had 24 saves in the losing effort.
It didn’t take long for either team to throw out their claws. Just over two minutes in to the game, Panther Andrew Peters, who seemed to win the match-up, threw punches with Boston’s Lane McDermid, putting them both in the box for a five minute fighting major.
The Panthers then took a bite at the Bruins, scoring at 8:47 of the first period. Booth grabbed the rebound from Frolik who took the initial shot. After the puck bounced off of Schaefer’s pads, Booth slipped the puck by the left post, scoring his first goal of the preseason. Center Steve Reinprecht also picked up his first assist on the play.
Boston answered back late in the first at 14:28, thanks to defenseman Kampfer. Kampfer was fed the puck from winger Michael Ryder (0+1), who took the slapshot from the blue line and watched it make its way past traffic in front the net. Vokoun couldn’t stop the puck and Kampfer’s shot tied the game 1-1.
Florida pounced back and regained the lead less than three minutes later when Booth scored his second goal of the game at 16:57 of the first. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov passed the puck across the slot to Booth who capitalized on the wide-open net, taking the 2-1 lead.
"It was great to see David," said DeBoer. "He took the bull by the horns the first shift. Jumped right into the middle of the ice, took the puck in traffic. Gave a hit, took a hit. That was exactly what I was looking to see and he showed that he was back and feels great. I thought he was outstanding."
Both teams led a quiet offense in the first, combining for only 17 shots on goal.
After a little more than one minute of play, the Panthers jumped ahead to a 3-1 lead at 1:15 of the second stanza. Wideman completed the power-play goal and his first point of the preseason in front of his old pack. Wideman’s shot finally finished the play after Frolik and Center Stephen Weiss both had their own tries on Schaefer.
Plante then got the go-ahead and was put in goal midway through the second, but faced little offense from the Bruins. Boston added only nine shots throughout the period, bringing them to a total of 21 shots on goal.
The Panthers added seven more shots for a two-period total of 16.
After almost forty minutes of play, the Bruins finally added another tally to the board, to shrink the Panthers’ lead to 3-2 in the third period. Zach Hamill (0+1) snuck behind the net and took a shot at Plante, who couldn’t come up with the save. LoVecchio then picked up the rebound and drilled the puck past Plante, scoring his first goal of the preseason.
Plante came up with a huge saves at 10:18 of the third period. The Bruins’ offense roared past Florida’s defense and took shots at the netminder. Plante was solid, but then was faced with an unmatched Jared Knight, who took a shot that Plante was able to catch with his glove hand. Then three minutes later, Plante was again challenged, but he came up with another game-saving stopper.
"He played great," said DeBoer of Plante. "I thought both goalies at both ends played great. Vokoun was good but Tyler was outstanding in the third period. He earned the chance to play tonight...He had a great game tonight."
Boston had one last chance to tie the score when center Brad Marchand had a breakaway in front of the net, but he lost control of the puck and let a weak shot trickle past the goal, finalizing the Bruin’s fate.
The Rochester Americans will officially open their 2010-11 American Hockey League training camp on Monday, September 27th at the downtown Blue Cross Arena. The week-long camp is both free and open to the public.