Streaking Bruins make a stop in Florida
(SportsNetwork.com) - The streaking Boston Bruins will try to win five straight games for the first time this season when they visit the Florida Panthers for Sunday's battle at BB&T Center.
With Saturday's 4-3 shootout victory in Tampa, the Bruins posted their fifth four-game winning streak of the season. The Atlantic Division leaders haven't won five tests in a row since a six-game run from Feb. 17-March 2 of last season.
Reilly Smith scored in the seventh-round of the shootout on Saturday to help the Bruins down the Lightning. After Richard Panik hit the right post, Smith skated in and used a head fake before drawing the puck to his backhand, then sneaking in the forehand for the win.
Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg each posted a goal and an assist, while Daniel Paille also scored for the Bruins, who hold a 10-point lead over Montreal for the top spot in the division.
"We've been getting different guys from different lines scoring every night," said Boston forward Jarome Iginla. "We've been having a lot of fun out there lately."
Tuukka Rask made 17 saves and stopped all seven skaters he faced in the shootout. Rask could get the start again on Sunday, as the 26-year-old Finn has terrific career numbers against the Panthers, going 10-1-0 with a 1.08 goals against average and .964 save percentage in 11 lifetime appearances against Florida.
Boston aims to sweep the season series with the Panthers on Sunday after going 4-0 against Florida so far this season. The Bruins have outscored the Cats by a combined 17-6 margin in 2013-14 and have taken seven straight and nine of the last 10 meetings in this series.
The Bruins, who are 16-10-3 away from Boston this season, have won two in a row and seven of their past eight road games against the Panthers.
The Panthers are 16 points out of a playoff spot in the East, but the club has won two of its last three games, including a victory over visiting Buffalo on Friday in Roberto Luongo's return to the team.
Luongo stopped all 25 shots he faced in his reintroduction to Florida, helping the Panthers record a 2-0 victory over Buffalo on Friday.
Luongo was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. He had spent five seasons with the Panthers from 2000-06, earning two of his six All-Star nods and winning a franchise-record 108 games.
The 34-year-old extended his own franchise mark with his 27th whitewash for the Panthers and 66th career shutout in the winning effort.
"It was nice, a great reception from the start and I thought the boys played extremely well," Luongo said. "We're a really fast team. I was impressed by the speed that we generated. The future is very promising."
Jesse Winchester and Dmitry Kulikov netted a power-play goal each for the Panthers, who returned home after losing twice on their recent three-game road swing.
Florida is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand on Sunday. The Panthers, who are 12-13-4 as the host this season, will complete the stay in Sunrise with Tuesday's game against Phoenix.