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(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins: 48-17-11, 107 points, second in the Atlantic Division

Away: Florida Panthers: 39-29-8,  86 points, fourth in the Atlantic Division

Boston’s Lineup




Heinen-Riley Nash-Backes









Florida’s Lineup













First Period

First off, it was announced that Charlie McAvoy was voted the winner of the 7th player award. BNG writer Lauren Campbell’s scoop on it can be found here.

Back-and-forth action came and went at the start of the game. This was of course until Jamie McGinn notched his 13th goal of the season in a mad scramble in front of Tuukka Rask. Advantage Florida early with 15:01 to go.

Trailing didn’t phase the Bruins too much. Nick Holden tallied his first as a Bruin and fourth of the season on a tip from a turnaround David Krejci shot with 8:45 to go in the first period.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

A little less than three minutes later, Jake DeBrusk cashed in for his 14th of the season. The puck was misplayed behind the Florida net by Alex Petrovic, Ryan Donato picked it up, immediately dished it to Jake DeBrusk, throwing James Reimer off and giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

It was a productive first period for the Bruins. They pushed the pace often and kept Florida on their heels enough to hold a one-goal lead going into intermission.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Second Period

Ryan Donato picked up right where he left off, picking up his third goal of the season on a laser from the high slot. He has made the NCAA to NHL transition looks effortless. It’s remarkable. Micheal Haley then hit the ice looking for a fight, and boy did he get one. To keep things short and sweet, Adam McQuaid rag dolled him.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Not too long after the fight, Riley Nash took a fluttering puck up high off the stick of Torey Krug and left the ice. Just as Jake DeBrusk comes back, the Bruins may lose another forward. David Krejci then took a shot off of his foot and was shaken up, but returned to the ice after shaking it off. He came back to generate some nice scoring chances, helping in continuing to push the pace against a desperate Florida team.

A skirmish then came up involving Jonathan Huberdeau, Brad Marchand, and Vincent Trocheck between the benches a little more than halfway through the period. This ended in Marchand throwing some face jabs at Trocheck and getting four minutes in the box. Danton Heinen joined him to serve the double minor, and Trocheck got two on Florida’s side of things. Nothing wrong with a good little muck.

This is the best GIF that I’ve ever seen.

(Via @NHLBlinn on Twitter)

With 7:10 remaining, Micheal Haley went back to the box for roughing, giving Boston a golden opportunity to pour it on. Fast forward 50 seconds into the power play for a goal due to David Backes and Patrice Bergeron crashing the net hard and stuffing the puck under James Reimer and in. Bergeron got credit for the goal, his 29th of the season.

Bob Boughner challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but it was ruled in favor of the Bruins as a good goal with 6:20 remaining.

Jake DeBrusk clearly missed scoring goals while he was sidelined, so he decided to score again. His 16th of the year extended the lead to 5-1 Bruins with 3:28 to go. The puck sat idly on the goal line under James Reimer after a shot from Kevan Miller for a few seconds, that’s easy money for Jake DeBrusk.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Score: 5-1 Boston

Third Period

During the second intermission, it was ruled by the team that Riley Nash would not return to the game after taking a puck to the face in the second period.

Leading into the early portion of the third period, it had been one of those games where the Bruins wear their opponent down in a multitude of ways. Mainly, making their defense run around and look silly.

The Panthers did get some life with 16:06 to go when Matt Grzelcyk went to the box for hooking. Evgenii Dadonov nearly scored early on into the power play but nailed the crossbar. The score remains 5-1 Bruins.

Get this, more injuries. Brandon Carlo went down with 9:32 left in the third. Not ideal! Joining Sasha Barkov in the corner, he tried to reposition himself and awkwardly twisted his ankle and went down hard in an ugly sequence. The stretcher came out in response to Carlo’s injury. You hate to see things like that.

**Below is a clip of the injury, I wouldn’t recommend watching if things like this can make you squeamish.**

(Via @Tashville401 on Twitter)

Noel Acciari finally fought someone. He’s tough as nails, I’m surprised he waited this long. Poor MacKenzie Weegar challenged the buzzsaw known as Noel Acciari.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

“We want the cup!” chants are back. Cup fever is real in Boston, and it feels so good. Things were quiet on the score sheet. It was that obligatory period where one team has a huge lead and cruises to a degree. More goals are nice, but they’re not urgently needed. It’s ok though because Tuukka Rask earned his 34th win of the season in another great winning effort.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Agreed, Marina. Thanks for the GIFs!

Lastly, congratulations to long-time NHL referee Tom Cowell on reffing over 1100 NHL games. Quite the accomplishment.

Final Score: 5-1 Boston