(Reuters) - Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask shut down Florida with 34 saves as the Bruins feasted on the struggling Panthers for a 4-1 victory on Sunday.
While Rask was neutralizing the home team, Boston’s offense took advantage of 23-year-old Florida netminder Jacob Markstrom, who faced 31 shots in just his second start of the season.
Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara scored in the first period for a 2-0 lead, with Chara’s goal providing the highlight of the night.
The big Boston defenseman took a pass from Brad Marchand near the blue line, spun away from a defender and made a slick backhand that impressed everyone on the ice except for Chara himself.
“I think it just happened,” Chara told reporters. “Obviously you can’t really plan that kind of goal, those kind of moves. But I’m glad and happy we got a lead with that goal.”
The advantage was cut to just one after Florida’s Tomas Kopecky responded late in the first but the Bruins were up to the challenge.
Chris Kelly converted on a power play in the second and the Bruins closed the scoring in the final 90 seconds on Daniel Paille’s empty-netter.
The victory was the third straight for Boston while Florida have dropped seven of eight games.
The Panthers’ troubles include a five-game losing streak at home, their longest since March, 2011.
Markstrom made 28 saves in the defeat.
“Our issue tonight was not being able to execute getting the puck into their zone,” said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen.
“There’s simple ways and other ways are a little bit more difficult and we made it harder on ourselves tonight.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner; editing by Gene Cherry/Ian Ransom