Bertuzzi had a goal and three assists – his first four-point night since Feb. 25, 2003 – in his Florida debut, and Joe Nieuwendyk had two goals and an assist as the Panthers opened the season with an 8-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.
Alex Auld, who came to the Panthers with Bertuzzi in the off-season trade that sent all-star goalie Roberto Luongo to Vancouver, stopped 34 shots for Florida.
Mike Van Ryn, Juraj Kolnik, Nathan Horton, Chris Gratton and Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers, who outscored Boston 4-1 in the third period. Ruslan Salei, Rostislav Olesz and Jozef Stumpel each had two assists for the Panthers.
Marco Sturm had a goal and an assist, Glen Murray and Wayne Primeau each had a goal and Zdeno Chara added two assists for Boston, which has two wins in its last 11 season openers.
The Bruins cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the second period on Murray’s goal, but the Panthers scored the next four to take control. Nieuwendyk tapped in a centring pass from Bertuzzi at 9:01 of the second for a 4-2 lead, then scored again at 1:23 of the third period.
Nieuwendyk’s goals gave him 561 for his career, pushing him past Guy LaFleur for 19th on the NHL’s career list.
Horton got a power-play score at 6:34, then set up Gratton for the goal that knocked Bruins goalie Tim Thomas out of the game at 8:21. Thomas stopped 27 of 34 shots, before being relieved by Hannu Toivonen – who allowed Jokinen’s goal with 4:56 left.
Florida was 4-for-6 on the power play; Boston 1-for-8.
Bertuzzi scored Florida’s first goal of the season at 6:33 of the opening period, when he gathered the rebound of Jokinen’s shot and quickly tucked it past Thomas – starting a flurry of power-play scores.
Van Ryn made it 2-0 when he took a diagonal pass from Jozef Stumpel, took his time getting set and fired the puck past Thomas’ near side 47 seconds after Bertuzzi’s score.
Boston got within 2-1 when Sturm, camped out on the red line to the right of the net, collected Marc Savard’s pass and – despite a poor angle – beat Auld from close range. But Kolnik restored Florida’s two-goal edge at 18:29 of the first, spinning in the slot to push a rebound of Jay Bouwmeester’s shot into an open net.
The Bruins made it 3-2 only 29 seconds into the second period. Sturm was pushed off the puck by Bouwmeester, but Murray was left unmarked in the slot and beat Auld.
It was all Florida from there, as the Panthers scored five straight goals before Primeau’s unassisted tally with 53.9 seconds left.
Notes: Nieuwendyk has 45 points in 42 games against the Bruins. … Florida had never previously scored more than four goals in a season opener. … Boston had just six players back from the opening game of the 2005-06 season. … The Panthers killed off two separate power plays in a span of 4:12 during the first period.