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Bruins 4, Panthers 1

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Already off to their best start in decades, the Boston Bruins maintained the pace with a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers Sunday afternoon in front of 18,108 at the BB&T Center.

With just one matchup remaining on their season-long five-game roadtrip, the Bruins (11-2-2) improved to 7-1-1 away from TD Garden. They came into Sunday's game with the organization's best road start since 2010 and best overall start since 1976.

Boston took a 1-0 lead on left winger Milan Lucic's snap shot that beat goaltender Jacob Markstrom's stick side 7:57 into the first period. Center David Krejci set up Lucic's fourth goal of the season by winning the face-off in the Florida zone.

Nifty stick work from defenseman Zdeno Chara, who handled a pass from left winger Brad Marchand in front of the blue line, gave Boston a 2-0 advantage with 6:08 left in the period.

Chara spun around a defenseman and faked another Panthers player before backhanding the puck top shelf for his third goal of the year. Center Tyler Seguin also recorded an assist on the play.

Florida trimmed the deficit to 2-1 less than two minutes later on right winger Tomas Kopecky's fifth goal of the season.

Left winger Tomas Fleischmann passed to center Drew Shore, whose shot rebounded back to him. Kopecky then gathered Shore's feed that sat between defenseman Andrew Ference's legs and found an opening on the left side of the net.

Earlier in the period, the same line couldn't capitalize on a scoring opportunity. Center Jonathan Huberdeau passed to Kopecky, who took a shot that lingered near the back post and didn't cross the goal line. Shore was unable to put it in.

Center Chris Kelly's goal with eight seconds to go in a power play came 2:30 into the second period and handed the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

Left winger Daniel Paille skated down the middle of the Panthers zone -- catching them on a line change -- and took a slap shot that Florida's Peter Mueller slightly deflected from behind. The loose puck went directly to Kelly for his first goal of the season. Left winger Chris Bourque tallied an assist.

Paille added a shorthanded open-netter with 1:37 remaining in regulation for his third goal of the year, assisted by defenseman Adam McQuaid.

After four successful penalty kills on Sunday, Boston has kept opponents off the board in 21 straight power plays over the past seven-plus games. The Bruins lead the league with 94.8 percent proficiency. The Panthers, on the other hand, are 0-for-17 on the power play during their current five-game home losing streak.

For the 10th time this season, Boston held an opponent to two goals or fewer, improving to 10-0-0 in those games. Goaltender Tuukka Rask made 34 saves.

Notes: Scott Clemmensen was a healthy scratch for the Panthers, who are currently keeping three goaltenders on the roster. Right winger Alex Kovalev was also a scratch on his 40th birthday. ... Fleischmann is one goal shy of 100 for his NHL career, but has not found the back of the net since last Tuesday against his former team, the Washington Capitals. ... Up next, the Bruins remain on their longest road trip of the season, closing the fifth and final game on Tuesday with a visit to New York to face the Islanders. ... The Panthers continue their three-game homestand, hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
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