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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boston Bruins end strong first half with season sweep of Florida Panthers

It's easy to get caught up in the negativity and the bitter history but can we all agree that the Boston Bruins (first place in the Northeast Division, four points ahead of Montreal) had a great first half of the season?

The Bs (28-15-7) put a punctuation mark on their 50th game-the last one before the All-Star break-with a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers (22-22-5) last night at the TD Garden.

Boston swept the four-game season series vs. Florida. If the regular season ended today, the Bruins would be the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

It was fitting that Boston's biggest surprise offensively and best goal-scorer so far this season, both tickled the twine.

Brad Marchand scored his 13th of the season at 13:31 of the first period when he wrapped around Florida's net and just squeezed it over the line before Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun (33 saves) could grab it. Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara assisted on the goal.

Milan Lucic continued to have the hot touch, putting in his 20th goal of the season at 1:52 of the second period. David Krejci, who left briefly with an injury, assisted on Looch's snipe that beat Vokoun high and to the side.

It looked like Bruins goalie Tim Thomas would wrap up his absurd first half with yet another shutout (would have been his eighth) but Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen beat him off a rebound at 8:37 of the third period. Radek Dvorak (haha poor guy has always been a Panther) and Darcy Hordichuk (awesome name) assisted on Florida's lone goal.

Chara and Thomas are off to Raleigh for the All-Star game this weekend and Tyler Seguin will play in the youngsters contest. Everyone else will get some well deserved rest as they gear up for the stretch run and the postseason.

Boston goes to the Carolina Hurricanes in their first game back from the break on Tuesday night.

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