Tomas Kopecky, Ed Jovanovski, Tim Thomas, Shawn Matthias

Panthers pummel Bruins, creep up on Boston’s No. 2 seed


For much of the last month or more, the Boston Bruins’ biggest worry was losing their division lead to the Ottawa Senators. Now there might be concern that the Northeast Division title might not equal the second seed.

That’s because the current third-ranked Florida Panthers absolutely handed it to the Bruins tonight, beating them 6-2. That loss narrows the gap between the two teams to just two points, as Boston has 83 standings points and Florida has 81.

(Sure, the Bruins hold tiebreaker advantages that mean that the Panthers will almost certainly need to finish with one more point to take the second seed, but that doesn’t seem unrealistic right now.)

Of course, the bigger threat is losing the Northeast altogether. Boston has just one point and one game on hand on the Ottawa Senators, with the only good news being that the Sens have struggled a bit recently too (a pedestrian 5-3-2 in their last 10 games).

Tumbling Thomas

It might be too easy to point to Tim Thomas’ White House snub as the turning point, but either way, the unorthodox goalie has been struggling – which is especially troubling since Tuukka Rask is far from returning.

Thomas carried an atrocious set of March stats into tonight’s game (.852 save percentage and 3.74 GAA) and allowed six goals on 30 shots against the Panthers.


It’s not fair to lay it all on Thomas’ feet – surely Boston’s offense and defense carry plenty of blame – but the bottom line is that the Bruins need to figure things out fast or their mid-season domination will be nothing but a distant memory.

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”