Alex Auld made 29 saves, Martin Gelinas scored a power-play goal and the Panthers snapped the Bruins’ season-high, four-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Monday night. Joe Nieuwendyk netted a third-period, power-play goal, and Nathan Horton scored in the second period for the Panthers, who won for the second time in seven games. It was Florida’s second road win of the season (2-6-3). The Panthers also earned a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Oct. 25.
“It’s always good to win on the road, especially the way we’ve been playing,” Nieuwendyk said. “Tonight the difference was we played with a lead. We hadn’t been doing that a lot.”
Florida held a 2-0 edge after two periods, and led 3-1 late in the third. That was more than enough for Auld.
Glen Murray scored his team-leading 10th and 11th goals for Boston, which had its longest winning streak since March 2004 stopped.
“We were flat, no question, the first and second periods,” Murray said.
Tim Thomas, making his fifth straight start for the Bruins, stopped 25 shots. The Bruins were 0-for-6 on the power play.
“They played a real solid road game. They didn’t take many chances,” Boston coach Dave Lewis said. “Through a season you go through a night where emotion isn’t there and you have to depend on structure.”
The Bruins cut the deficit to 3-2 on Murray’s second goal with 5:04 to play, but Boston couldn’t get the tying goal despite pulling Thomas for an extra skater for the final 1:06. The Bruins didn’t even record a shot with Thomas out.
“I thought the defence played well in front of me tonight, especially in the third period,” Auld said. “We didn’t give them many rebounds or second chances.”
Unlike the teams’ other meeting this season, an 8-3 win by the Panthers on opening night, this game had strong goaltending and tougher defence.
Nieuwendyk made it 3-1 with just over 10 minutes left, but Murray completed a 2-on-1 break with a wrister past Auld’s glove.
Stephen Weiss set up Gelinas’ goal to break a scoreless tie 15:14 into the opening period. Weiss fired a pass to Gelinas, who redirected a backhand shot past Thomas from the edge of the crease.
Auld made the lead stand up with some steady play until Horton’s goal made it 2-0 at 14:47 of the second. Horton one-timed a rising shot over Thomas off a centring pass from Olli Jokinen.
Murray sliced the Bruins’ deficit to 2-1 when he shovelled in a shot after Patrice Bergeron circled the net before centring a pass to the slot.
Auld had 12 saves in the opening period – two of them were difficult stops. The first came against Marc Savard on a partial breakaway when Auld flashed his right leg, catching the puck with the edge of his right skate. The other was a sliding glove stop against P.J. Axelsson, who appeared to have an open net from the right circle.
Thomas had his own splendid save, robbing Chris Gratton with a diving glove stop when he came across the crease midway into the second.
“Both goalies made big saves,” Gratton said.
Notes: The Bruins recalled D Marc Stuart from Providence of the AHL in the morning, but optioned him back a few hours later when coach Dave Lewis felt all of his defenceman were healthy enough to play. … Horton has four goals and seven assists in 10 games. … Boston C Savard (5) and Bergeron (4) combined for nine of the Bruins’ 24 shots in the first two periods. … Bruins RW Shean Donovan’s next point will be his 200th in the NHL.