Horton us; Horton, Bruins down Panthers

Nathan Horton welcomed his former team to TD Garden, and then reminded them why he was their number one guy; as he set up 3 goals, and had his new goaltender Tuukka Rask got the shutout in a 4-0 beat down on the Florida Panthers Thursday night.

Rask made 41-saves for his first win of the season as he entered with a poor 0-4-1 record as he had spent most of the season backing up Tim Thomas over his 10-1 start. Thomas already played two games this week, therefore Rask had the start. He stopped everything, including one off his mask.

“I felt like a really, really busy guy,” Rask said.

Milan Lucic got things started for the Bruins at 15:37 of the first period as he took a drop pass from Nathan Horton, and wired it near side past Tomas Vokoun for the 1-0 lead.

In the third, Lucic would take another pass from Horton, and in same spot as the first one, lets one rip far side on Vokoun, to put the Bruins up by 2, at 14:42 of the third. Then, 15-seconds later, Nathan Horton breaks in on a 2-1, and Lucic trails the play, and swipes the puck into an empty net for his third of the night for the natural hat-trick.

Then, with just under four minutes to play, Shawn Thornton takes a Daniel Paille pass and beats Vokoun for his fourth of the year, as the Bruins take it 4-0.

Rask earned his first win since May 5, when the Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 to take a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. But, the Flyers would go on to win the next four straight games, and Rask couldn’t reclaim the starting job with Tomas off to his strong start.

“Its not the first win I’ve won with the Bruins, but it feels good,” Rask said.

Boston held on to stop the Panthers power play as Florida went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
“Tuukka Rask was our power play problem. It wasn’t our power play,” said Panthers coach Peter DeBoer. “We generated plenty of chances on the power play. I mean, when you’ve got a goalie that plays like that, that’s the power-play problem.”

Rask also did a great job on the Power play, as both Chris Higgins and Bryan Allen had their own respective breakaways. Higgins shot wide on his attempt, while Rask calmly snagged the shot from Allen with his glove.

Rask stopped 16 shots from the goal hungry Panthers in the first period alone, including a handful of point-blank shots after some sloppy puck handling by his teammates. Bruin fans slowly regaining their faith with cheers of “Tuuuuk! Tuuuuk!” as he made some key saves late in the period.

“We, wanted to go out there and give him a good effort and get him the win,” Milan Lucic said. “He’s such a great goalie and we’re happy that we were able to get the win for him.”
When asked about his thoughts on the game Bruin Coach Claude Julien said, “The patience was there. We weren’t going to break; it was a matter of who was going to break first.”

Note:
*Rask improves to 1-4-1 on the season while Tomas Vokoun drops to 7-6-0 with the loss.
*This was the 17th straight game for the Panthers without going into overtime to open the season. This is the first time ever this has occured.
*Former Bruins defencemen, Dennis Wideman was booed during introductions, and whenever he touched the puck.

Adam Reid
Adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com