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Bruins 4, Panthers 1

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BOSTON -- Goaltender Tuukka Rask came within 5:35 of his second shutout of the season and the Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Thursday night.

Center David Krejci, left winger Brad Marchand, defenseman Torey Krug and right winger Reilly Smith scored for the Bruins, who scored three times in the third period and won for only the second time in their last six games.

The Panthers lost their seventh straight, falling to 0-3-4 in that stretch.

Center Jesse Winchester (No. 4) broke Rask's shutout bid on a rebound of a shot by fellow center Nick Bjugstad.

Rask wasn't severely tested but made the stops he had to make, 23 in all, and almost had his 18th career shutout in the second game of his team's five-game homestand.

Krejci scored his third goal of the season, beating goalie Scott Clemmensen from the blue line 7:17 into the second period after a strong Bruins forecheck.

Clemmensen, who played his college hockey at Boston College and came in with a 2.27 lifetime goals-against-average, played well in only his third game of the season. But he let a rebound of a Dennis Seidenberg shot (tipped by Loui Eriksson) sit loose in the crease and Marchand slid it home at 4:09 of the third period to break a 12-game goal-scoring drought.

Krug scored his sixth goal of the season the season at 8:57 and Smith, who also posted an assist, scored his second goal of the year on a giveaway by left winger Tomas Fleischman with 1:47 left as the Bruins finished off their fifth straight win over the Panthers.

Bruins center Chris Kelly left the ice in the first period after taking an elbow to the head from Winchester. No penalty was called but Boston center Gregory Campbell went after Winchester.

Kelly quickly returned and later set up Krug for his goal.

Krug's goal moved him into a tie with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, who was also in action, for the league lead among defensemen.

The Bruins killed all four Florida power plays and have killed 15 straight since giving up five in a row. Florida fell to 5-for-54 on the power play for the year.

NOTES: Former Bruins G Tim Thomas took part in Florida's morning skate but didn't dress for his return to Boston. Expected to return this weekend from his second injury with his new team, Thomas didn't meet with the media. He received a big ovation from the crowd when shown on the video screen in the third period. After Boston's morning skate, coach Claude Julien scoffed at the notion Thomas won the championship for the club in 2011. "You don't win a Stanley Cup just with a goaltender," Julien said. Thomas lost to the Bruins in Florida on Oct. 17, surrendering a soft winning goal. ... Former Boston RW Brad Boyes was a healthy scratch for Florida. ... The Bruins continue their homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, while the Panthers play the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday and the Rangers in New York on Sunday. ... Among the scouts on the press level were Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, plus Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe, the top two executives in the Edmonton Oilers organization.
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