With 13 games left to play, the Bruins look more like the team that struggled in October than the one that dominated the league in the two months that followed.
Boston hopes to avoid a season-high fourth straight setback this evening and extended its winning streak in Florida as it battles the Southeast Division- leading Panthers.
The Bruins are on their first three-game slide since Oct. 22-29, a losing streak that was part of a 3-7 start to the season. The defending Stanley Cup champions then opened up November with a 10-game win streak and lost just four times through the end of December, but have only gone 12-15-2 over their past 29 games. That has dropped their lead over the Senators for first place in the Northeast Division to just one point, but with two games in hand. Ottawa is not in action on Thursday.
Boston has been outscored 15-6 over its current three-game losing streak and is coming off Tuesday's 6-1 loss at Tampa Bay. Jordan Caron had the lone goal for the Bruins, who had just two shots in the first period and trailed 4-0 by the frame's end.
"We have to find a way, we have to stick together and stay positive," Caron said. "It's not easy right now, but just have to forget about those last three games and keep looking forward."
Marty Turco, recently signed to back up Tim Thomas due to Tuukka Rask's lower- body injury, got the start but was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots in less than five minutes. Thomas came in and gave up a pair of scores on five shots faced before Turco was reinserted into the game.
Boston will now try to avoid its first four-game slide since March 5-11 of last year and pick up its sixth straight victory at Florida. The Bruins and Panthers split a pair of meetings in Boston this season before the Bruins' 3-2 shootout win at Sunrise on Jan. 16. The B's have won three times in a shootout over their current series road winning streak.
The Panthers have lost six of their past seven overall to the Bruins and look to remain perfect on their current four-game homestand. Florida had lost four of five before kicking off the residency with a shutout win over Carolina on Sunday. The Panthers then made it two in a row with Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs.
Sean Bergenheim scored twice -- his first just 59 seconds into the game -- to give him a career-high 16 goals on the season, while Jason Garrison's 15th tally tied a club record for most goals by a defenseman in a single season. Jay Bouwmeester twice had 15 for the Panthers while Bryan McCabe also hit that mark in 2008-09.
Marcel Goc and Tomas Kopecky had a goal and an assist, while Jose Theodore made 26 saves in the win, which kept Florida a point ahead of Washington for the top spot in the Southeast Division. The Panthers will use up their game in hand over the Capitals tonight.
"Tonight we got offense from a lot of different guys," said Florida head coach Kevin Dineen. "On the defensive side, it was all about the goaltending because the guys in front of him were sloppy, especially in the second period."
Forward Kris Versteeg sat out his eighth straight game because of a lower-body injury, but practiced on Wednesday. He was joined by fellow injured Panthers Dmitry Kulikov (knee) and Scottie Upshall (sports hernia).