By MyFM's Jake Archer - The Boston Bruins seem to score a lot of goals. They also seem to play very entertaining games. Tonight, they did neither of those things as they were blanked by the Florida Panthers in an ugly 3-0 loss.
The B's threw 46 shots at Florida's goaltender, James Reimer, and he stopped all of them (a season high in saves for Reimer) on his way to a shutout. On the other side, Anton Khudobin got the start in net and allowed three goals on just 28 total shots to take a loss. For all the scoring the B's have done lately, the goalies and the defense really aren't playing all that well right now. It seems like more often then not they are allowing at least three goals to be scored by the opposition.
It was just the second time the Bruins had been held scoreless all season long, with the first time being all the way back on October 9th when they fell to Colorado 4-0. Reimer picked up his third shutout of the season as he came off the bench for a start for the first time in the last six games. The Panthers are surging and making a push toward the playoffs, having won 11 of their last 13 games at home. They are now within three points of the Devils for the final playoff slot in the East.
Aaron Ekblad opened the scoring in the first when he knocked a rebound out of mid-air for a goal. Nick Bjugstad made it 2-0 less than three minutes later with his 16th goal of the season. In the second, Vincent Trocheck scored his team-leading 27th goal on a top-shelf goal on a power-play chance to push the lead to 3-0. Boston would never answer and that score would hold up the rest of the way.
Florida's Aleksander Barkov picked up his 70th point of the season on an assist, making him the first Panther since Olli Jokinen in 2007-2008 to reach that. Former Bruin Frank Vatrano faced Boston for the first time since his trade to Florida earlier this season and he didn't do much of note besides pick up a penalty for goalie interference.
Boston was missing captain Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk as they both sat with upper-body injuries they sustained in the win over Carolina. Bruce Cassidy also ruled them both out for the next game as well. The team recalled forward Anton Blidh and defenseman Paul Postma from Providence for depth. The B's fall to 44-17-8 and will visit arguably the best team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Saturday night at 7 p.m.