BOSTON – The Florida Panthers were content to take the game into a shootout. At least that way they knew they’d get off three more shots.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 40 shots for his third shutout in four games, and Cory Stillman scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Panthers a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
It was the first shootout attempt of the season for Stillman, who had three goals and three assists in his previous four games but did not get off a shot in regulation or overtime. The Panthers were outshot 19-1 in the second period as a team – the fifth time this year that an NHL team has had one shot on goal in a period, according to STATS Inc.
“That second period – there is no way to describe it,” said Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak. “Our desperation was high in the third, though, and I thought we outplayed them.”
Tim Thomas made 23 saves in regulation and overtime to extend his shutout streak to 172 minutes 28 seconds. He stopped the first three Florida attempts in the shootout, but Stillman beat him on the glove side to end it.
The Bruins have not lost in regulation on their four-game homestand.
“We deserved the two points,” Thomas said. “They got some chances, but we got more. It is a little easier to take knowing that we won the last two.”
Boston held Florida to one shot on goal in the second period, and a small ripple of chuckles rose from the crowd when the second-period shots on goal were announced: “Boston 19, Florida 1.”
But the score was still 0-0 at the time.
“When you get outshot 19-1 and you are chasing the puck the whole period, there is not much good,” Stillman said. “But whether you have 50 shots or no shots, it was still a tie game after two.”
It stayed that way through the third period, with Vokoun stopping Patrice Bergeron on a spin move with less than a minute left. The five-minute overtime produced few chances – Boston outshot the Panthers 4-2 – and the Bruins put their first three shootout attempts off Vokoun’s right leg.
Steven Reinprecht nearly gave Florida the advantage on the first shootout attempt when his shot bounced off and over Thomas toward the net. But the Bruins goalie swiped it out of the crease before it could cross the goal line, then Rostislav Olesz and Stephen Weiss shot wide of the net.
“We survived the second period,” Vokoun said. “After the first shootout attempt didn’t go in, I thought, ‘Oh, my God. It’s never going to go in.”‘
The Bruins had not won back-to-back games this season before beating Buffalo and Pittsburgh in the past week, shutting out the defending Stanley Cup champions 3-0 on Tuesday night. Thomas, who did not play against Buffalo, has not allowed a goal since the first period against Montreal last Thursday.
Florida’s best chance to score in regulation came late in the first period with a 5-on-3 advantage, when Thomas flung himself across the crease to follow a cross-ice pass to Nathan Horton. Horton put the puck on net, but Thomas had the shaft of his stick flat on the ice to block it.
The Bruins, who were off Wednesday on Veterans Day, use the game to recognize members of the military in the crowd and played videos from those stationed overseas.
Notes: F Milan Lucic practised with the Bruins on Thursday morning for the first time since breaking right index finger on Oct. 16. But he was not active for the game. … Florida’s Radek Dvorak (knee), Dominic Moore (nasal surgery) and Kamil Kreps (foot) all returned to action.