Florida Took their traveling road show to TD Garden in Boston on Thursday night and shut out the NHL's hottest team and Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, 2-0.
The Bruins started out with several good scoring chances, nearly but not quite getting through a recharged and Flu-free Jose Theodore.
It did not take very long for brand-new Panther Krys Barch to make a mark, drilling Daniel Paille on his first shift. The Bruins Shawn Thornton took exception, and the two dropped the gloves. The two were each assessed five minutes for fighting with Barch getting an additional two minutes for boarding.
The Panthers killed the ensuing power play, but the Bruins were putting a lot of heat on the Florida net. The Bruins hit the goalpost three times in the next few minutes but did not fool Theodore.
Mike Santorelli was called for tripping Patrice Bergeron at the 9:31 mark, but the Cats were up to the task of killing the penalty off.
The brand new fourth line was proving very creative at the 16 minute mark, with Barch, Mikael Samuelsson and Tim Kennedy nearly breaking the tie with some fancy stickwork.
The Bruins were holding it in the Florida zone for about 90 seconds just a bit later and looked a threat to score, when Jack Skille broke it up by checking a Bruins forward into the boards and stealing the puck, clearing it up the ice.
Tim Kennedy took an elbowing penalty from Brian Marchand three minutes into the period. The call looked a little questionable upon further review, but the Panthers were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. In fact, the Bruins had possession of the puck for about half of the power play.
Just two minutes after the teams were again at even strength, Brian Campbell flipped the puck over the glass while trying to clear. He was assessed a two minute minor for delay of game. It was Campbell’s first penalty as a Florida Panther.
The Cats soon allowed former Panther Nathan Horton alone in front of the net, but the forward was stoned by Jose Theodore. The Cats had a golden shorthanded opportunity as Marco Sturm and Shawn Matthias broke out in a two on one, but Matthias pulled the shot wide left.
At the 14:30 mark, Johnny Boychuk hit Mike Santorelli and Jack Skille took exception. Skille and Boychuk fought to a virtual draw and were assessed matching five minute fighting penalties.
The two teams traded chances for most of the penalty free third period. Jose Theodore stopped 14 of his 40 shots in the frame, including a point blank one-timer courtesy of Milan Lucic.
With two minutes left in regulation, Lucic turned the puck over in the Panthers zone when Dmitry Kulikov poke checked it to a charging Shawn Matthias. Matthias' one-timer was easily turned away with Sean Bergenheim in the goal mouth. As the Boston defense and goalie Tim Thomas keyed on Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky charged in and went top shelf over Thomas' shoulder to put the Cats up, 1-0. Assists were awarded to Kulikov and Matthias.
The Bruins pulled Thomas about a minute later for the extra skater, but the Panthers continued to clear the zone. Kris Versteeg was just a little stronger on a loose puck than were the Boston defenders, as he added an empty netter to seal the game with 42 seconds remaining on the clock, assists by Tomas Fleischmann and Brian Campbell.
Blocked Shots: Florida, 16-10
Hits: Florida, 19-16
Faceoffs: Boston, 28-24
Shots: Boston, 40-29
Score: Florida 2, Boston 0
The Panthers get tested tomorrow night in Buffalo. The Cats are 0-2-0 this season on the second nigh of back-to-back games, and have been outscored 8-1 in those two meetings.