Florida Panthers

Panthers stay tough on road, get one point in OT loss to Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers' Colby Robak (47) and Boston Bruins' Adam McQuaid (54) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.
Florida Panthers' Colby Robak (47) and Boston Bruins' Adam McQuaid (54) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. AP

The Panthers have been one of the NHL’s top road teams this season.

There are few places in the league as tough on the Panthers as Boston’s Garden has been, but Florida’s success continued Tuesday night.

Although the Panthers lost 2-1 to the host Bruins, Florida collected yet another road point as it ran its record away from Sunrise to 2-0-4. That’s at least a point in all six road games this season.

“It was a hard-fought battle in a hard building to play in,’’ said goalie Roberto Luongo, who made 23 saves before Brad Marchand beat him 3:27 into overtime for the game-winner.

“We battled hard and were very disciplined in not taking any penalties, which was really good. It came down to overtime, and their guy made a hell of a play on the goal. ... It was a good point, but obviously we want more. Right now we feel good about our team, good about our game. We know we can play with anyone.’’

Boston, as usual, beat the Panthers but didn’t do it in the humiliating fashion of recent history.

Florida has still lost nine in a row to the Bruins and 15 of the past 17, but Tuesday’s game felt much different as the Panthers took the initial 1-0 lead on Jussi Jokinen’s second-period goal and clamped down defensively.

The Panthers don’t score many goals, but they sure don’t give many up either. Florida has surrendered two goals or fewer in seven of the past eight as the Panthers are 4-0-3 in their past seven contests.

“We came into a tough building against this team and battled real hard,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. “We wanted to win. We got one point and we’re not satisfied with that and the guys are a little disappointed. But overall, I’m happy with the way we’re playing.’’

The Panthers again struggled against goalie Tuukka Rask as he is now 11-1-0 against Florida. Rask was saved by a post late, however, as Erik Gudbranson’s 45-foot shot rang off the cage with 6:45 left.

Rask made 18 saves.

“We’ve played real well the past few weeks in collecting some points,’’ said Jokinen, Rask’s teammate on the Finnish national team. “We know the games are going to be low scoring, we’re not getting five or six goals. It was a tight game. It was right that both teams got at least a point.’’

Boston tied the score three minutes after Jokinen’s goal as Patrice Bergeron fired a shot that slightly deflected off the stick of Florida’s Brian Campbell and over Luongo’s shoulder.

The two teams then played a tight defensive game the rest of the way through.

“We played them pretty much straight up, and it came came down to a play in overtime,’’ Luongo said. “We couldn’t be prouder of the way we played, but we can’t be satisfied with just collecting points. We need wins to start climbing the standings.’’


The Panthers hoped to have at least one of their regulars back in the lineup Tuesday, but Aleksander Barkov’s sore knee didn’t allow him to play.

Florida used the same lineup as it did in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

Defenseman Colby Robak reprised his role as Florida’s fourth-line left winger and played well alongside Rocco Grimaldi and Vinny Trocheck.

Robak played 19 shifts on Tuesday after getting just eight on Saturday.

“They played excellent, had some real scoring chances,’’ Gallant said. “They were probably our best line.’’

Barkov was the only one of Florida’s five injured or sick regulars to make the trip north.

Jonathan Huberdeau was left home with the flu, but Gallant said he could potentially meet the team in Philadelphia.

▪ Shawn Thornton was given a rare start Tuesday and why not?

Thornton spent seven seasons in Boston before signing with the Panthers in July.

The Bruins honored Thornton for his play and humanitarian works with a highlight reel played during the first period. Thornton got a rousing standing ovation from the sellout crowd.

“It was pretty touching,’’ said Thornton, whose foundation donated $150,000 to a pair of Boston charities before Tuesday’s game.

“I got a standing ovation in a visiting arena, and that’s pretty special. The fans have always been great to me here and were again tonight.’’

▪ Florida didn’t get called for a penalty in a game for the first time since 2013. Boston was only called for one.

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