When the Panthers scored twice in the opening period Saturday, it looked like their franchise record for scoring futility would end.
Only those two goals were all the Panthers could get all night.
The visiting Bruins scored the tying goal in the third and then beat Florida on the eighth shot of the shootout 3-2 at BankAtlantic Center. The Panthers go into the two week Olympic break with six straight losses and seven of their past eight.
The team also extended its record for consecutive games with two goals or less to 13. The previous mark of 11 was set in 2003.
Florida's six game losing streak is its longest this year and longest since early last season. The Panthers trail Montreal by six points for the final playoff berth.
“We're a little further out than I would have liked, but it's been a tough couple of weeks,'' said coach Pete DeBoer, whose team's next game is March 3 in Atlanta. “I liked the way we played the past two games. That's the way we have to play with the lineup we have.''
It's been quite a while since the Panthers went into a third period with a lead as Florida trailed in each of its past five.
The Panthers slumping offense got a charge from an unlikely source in the first period when fourth liner Nick Tarnasky charged the net and pounced on a nice pass from Victor Oreskovich and zipped the puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask midway through the period.
Boston was able to tie the score a few minutes later when David Krejci came down the right side and fired a weird angle shot toward the net. Tomas Vokoun saw the puck, got a piece of it with his glove, but it slipped past and snapped the back of the net.
“We played pretty hard obviously, but we didn't get the result we wanted,'' Vokoun said. “I made a mistake, personally, on the first goal. I let a soft one in. But we took a step forward. It was a good atmosphere in the locker room. The guys battled real hard. You can't fault them for that.''
Stephen Weiss took matters into his own hands at the end of the first, taking the puck the length of the ice and putting a sweet backhanded shot on Rusk. The goal was Weiss' 21st of the season – a career high. For Weiss and the Panthers, the game's second goal came at a good time.
Not only did it give Florida a lead – rare of late – but it was only the third goal for Weiss in the past 14 games.
And Florida's much maligned power play needed the goal as well. Florida had been just 3-for-49 in previous chances with the advantage. Boston's penalty kill is ranked tops in the league.
“I had good speed and wanted to go as far as I could, challenge the d-men and sneak one though,'' said Weiss.
The Panthers couldn't hold the lead, however, with the Bruins scoring the tying goal in the third just as Weiss was leaving the penalty box. After an exciting overtime – one featuring 57 seconds of 3-on-3 after Cory Stillman took a penalty moments after Boston's Blake Wheeler did – the game went to a shootout.
Both Vokoun and Rask were solid in the shootout, one that went eight rounds. Florida got goals from David Booth and Kamil Kreps, but the Bruins matched each time. On the eighth shot, Florida's Jeff Taffe misfired but the veteran Recchi did not. The Panthers dropped to 5-8 in shootouts this season with Vokoun losing seven straight.
“We have to find that third goal to put them away, then a fourth,'' said Weiss. “We let them hang around and they got one on the power play. We had a chance in overtime and a shootout is 50-50. .-.-. I don't know if you can take any positives out of losing a game.''