It was 30 for 34, and it was a huge win for the Florida Panthers.
Backup goalie James Reimer — No. 34 — got a start on his 30th birthday and helped put the Panthers back on track with a 3-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at the BB&T Center.
After a bad home loss to the out-of-contention Ottawa Senators on Monday night, the Panthers atoned with goals by Aaron Ekblad (his 14th), Nick Bjugstad (16) and Vincent Trocheck (a team-high 27). Reimer, who has won five of his past six games, stepped in for starter Roberto Luongo, who was rested.
The Panthers improved to 16-4-1 since Jan. 30 and now have 77 points. They trail the New Jersey Devils by three points for the first Eastern Conference wild-card playoff berth. The Panthers trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by two points for the second wild-card spot, and Florida has two games in hand on both rivals.
Evgenii Dadonov set up the first two goal with assists for the Panthers, who have won nine of their past 10 home games. Bjugstad also added an assist as both players remained hot. In his past 21 games, Dadonov has 25 points. In Bjugstad’s past 11 games, he has 13 points.
The Panthers caught a break when the Bruins (96 points) rested starting goalie Tuukka Rask, who is 20-3-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average in his career against Florida. The Bruins were also without defensemen Zdeno Chara (upper-body injury) and Charlie McAvoy (knee), center Patrice Bergeron (foot) and left winger Jake DeBrusk (upper body).