BOSTON (AP) — Jake DeBrusk scored twice in his first game in more than two weeks, and Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots on Saturday to help Boston beat the Florida Panthers 5-1 and move the Bruins back into first place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
David Krejci had three assists and rookie Ryan Donato had a goal and an assist for Boston, which has won four of its last five games. The Bruins have earned a point in eight straight games and 15 of their last 17.
Jamie McGinn scored for Florida, which remains three points behind New Jersey in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. James Reimer stopped 17 of the 22 shots he faced before he was replaced by Roberto Luongo with 3:28 left in the second period, trailing 5-1.
Luongo, the losing goalie for Vancouver in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run, stopped all 11 shots the rest of the way.
Two days after a physical battle for first place with the Tampa Bay Lighting, which the Bruins won 4-2 to take temporary possession of the top spot, Boston sent the struggling Panthers to their third straight loss and moved back into first. The Lightning had jumped ahead of the Bruins with a win at the New York Rangers on Friday night.
McGinn gave the Panthers the lead when he poked a rebound between Rask’s skate and the post five minutes into the first.
From there, it was all Boston.
The Bruins tied it when Krecji spun around at the blue line and wheeled it right to the slot for Nick Holden, who tipped through Reimer’s legs and into the net for his first goal as a Bruin. With six minutes left in the first, Donato took advantage of a giveaway by Alexander Petrovic behind the Panthers’ net and flipped it to DeBrusk in front.
Donato made it 3-1 just 90 seconds into the second period, Patrice Bergeron padded the lead and then DeBrusk scored on a rebound to chase Reimer. Donato has seven points in seven career NHL games.
NOTES: Bruins D Brandon Carlo was taken off on a stretcher in the third period after an apparent ankle injury. … Reimer played in his 300th NHL game. … Referee Tom Kowal officiated his last of more than 1,000 NHL games before retiring. … The Bruins’ 7th Player Award was given to D Charlie McAvoy before the game. He accepted in street clothes before missing his 14th straight game with a knee injury. … Bruins F David Pastrnak recorded his 200th career NHL point. He is the second member of the 2014 NHL draft class to reach that milestone, joining Edmonton’s No. 3 overall selection Leon Draisaitl. … Boston F Riley Nash left the game in the second period after taking a puck off the right side of his head.
Panthers: Host Carolina on Monday, 7:30 p.m.
Bruins: Play at Philadelphia on Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
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