5 things we learned as Ryan Spooner's 2 goals lead Bruins past Panthers

DJ Bean
December 12, 2015 - 10:39 am

[caption id="attachment_54646" align="alignright" width="150"] Ryan Spooner[/caption] Yawkey Way had Christmas at Fenway on Saturday, but the Panthers brought some holiday spirit with them to the Garden as they gave the Bruins one of the easiest games of the season. As the Panthers snoozed for stretches at a time, the Bruins took an easier-than-the-score-would-suggest 3-1 win. While the Bruins weren'€™t particularly dominant, the Panthers played a remarkably passive game, evidenced by multiple drowsy segments. Florida went a stretch of 14:33 in the first period with just one shot of goal, a low point that they pretty much matched by not even attempting a shot in the second period until 8:26 in, when Shawn Thornton mercifully flung a puck from the neutral zone on net. With the Bruins only leading by two thanks to big saves from Roberto Luongo, the Panthers managed to push back in the third period and get within one when former Bruin Reilly Smith broke up Tuukka Rask's shutout bid with just over six minutes to play. Brad Marchand put the game away with 1:23 to play, however, darting out of the defensive zone as Luongo left for the bench and firing the puck in for a heads-up empty-netter. The win provided some distance in the standings between the Bruins, who sat third in the Atlantic Division entering Saturday night, and the Panthers, who entered the game one point behind the B'€™s having played two more games. The Bruins are now at 35 points through 28 games, while the Panthers have 32 points through 30 games. Here are four more things we learned Saturday: SPOONER HEATING UP Ryan Spooner followed his sensational behind-the-back assist on the game-winning goal in Wednesday'€™s game, Ryan Spooner scored a pair of goals on Saturday for the third multi-goal game of his career. It also provided the makings of a point streak, as Spooner has now gotten on the score sheet in each of the last three games (two goals, two assists). The increased production has come at a good time for Spooner, who went 15 games without an even-strength point before Wednesday'€™s assist against the Habs. His second goal of Saturday'€™s game, a power play tally, brought him to eight power play points on the season, good for third on the Bruins. RASK, TOO Rask'€™s season numbers will be brought down by his terrible start, but he'€™s had good numbers for quite some time now. Using a small sample, Rask has allowed just two goals over his last three games, and one of them came off an unlucky bounce. In his seven appearances (six starts, one in-game replacement) entering Saturday, Rask had a .946 save percentage, a number that'€™s only climbed with Saturday'€™s performance. Rask has also gotten points out of his last eight appearances (6-0-2). BRUINS MOSTLY DISCIPLINED (EXCEPT FOR PATRICE BERGERON, OBVIOUSLY) With Patrice Bergeron'€™s penalty minutes going ups every season and this one no different, perhaps it wasn'€™t a shock that the Panthers'€™ only power play of the game came off a Bergeron trip. Bergeron'€™s minor penalty was his second in the last three games and moved him into a tie with Zdeno Chara for third on the team in minor penalties. Only Brad Marchand (16) and Adam McQuaid (12) have more minors than Bergeron'€™s nine. The two-time Selke winner and likely zero-time Lady Byng winner is now on pace for 53 penalty minutes on the season. He has set career highs in penalty minutes in each of the last two seasons, registering 43 in 2013-14 and 44 last season. The Bruins'€™ other penalties came from Zac Rinaldo, but both of his were matching with Panthers players. COLIN MILLER RETURNS, TROTMAN SCRATCHED Zach Trotman moved to the press box in favor of Colin Miller, the latter of whom returned to game action for the first time since Dec. 4. The changes to the lineup saw Friday'€™s practice defensive pairings stick, as the B'€™s iced the following lineup: Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly Beleskey-Krejci-Eriksson Vatrano-Spooner-Hayes Rinaldo-Talbot-Ferraro Chara-McQuaid Seidenberg-Colin Miller Krug-Kevan Miller