The Bruins snapped their longest losing streak of the season and positioned them to control their destiny in the final four games of the season by beating the Panthers, 3-0, Sunday at TD Garden.
With the victory, Boston’s first in five games (0-3-1 in four games entering Sunday), the B’s pulled themselves even with the Canadiens atop the Northeast Divison with 59 points, though the B’s have played 44 games to Montreal’s 45.
Carl Soderberg got his first career NHL point, picking up a rather liberal assist on a play in which Jaromir Jagr recovered a puck along the boards and fired a wrist shot past Jacob Markstrom to open the scoring for the B’s. Dougie Hamilton, playing in place of the injured Adam McQuaid, scored in the second period to make it 2-0. The B’s made it 3-0 with 1:22 remaining in the game on an empty-netter from Brad Marchand.
Picking up the shutout was Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Rask’s career-high for shutouts in a single season is five, which he accomplished in the 2009-10 season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Claude Julien essentially called Tuukka Rask out following Saturday’s game, saying that the Bruins needed timely saves. The Bruins went back with Rask again on Sunday, and he came through with a very timely save in the first period to preserve the Bruins’ lead by robbing Drew Shore on a play in front. Shore, who was battling with Wade Redden in front, took a feed from a teammate and had the whole right side of the net to work with, but Rask was able to slide over to block him with the left pad.
- For the fourth consecutive game, the Bruins scored the game’s first goal. For the first consecutive game, they won.
- Hamilton had a nice return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Saturday (and in three of the Bruins’ previous four games entering Sunday). Paired with Zdeno Chara, Hamilton had five shots on goal and scored from the point on a slapshot in the second period for his fifth goal of the season, which will certainly help his case to stick in the lineup come playoff time.
- Patrice Bergeron had a season-high seven shots on goal Sunday, and he’s really hit the ground running since returning from his concussion. In his three games since coming back, Bergeron has 17 shots on goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins were playing without both McQuaid (lower-body) and Nathan Horton (upper-body). Both players were out with injuries sustained in Saturday’s loss to the Penguins, as Horton appeared to hurt his left wrist while fighting Jarome Iginla and McQuaid was slow to get back to the bench after a hit from Matt Cooke.
- Milan Lucic made his return to the lineup Sunday after being a healthy scratch on Saturday. He was more active than in previous games, as he finished with three shots on goal. His wrist shot on Markstrom in the second period marked his first shot on goal in over a week, as he had last put a puck on net last Saturday against the Hurricanes. Lucic was denied on a rebound bid following a David Krejci shot in the second period and still has just two goals over his last 28 games.