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Marchand's hat trick moves Bruins atop Eastern Conference

Dec 24, 2011 - 5:14 AM
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Brad Marchand notched his first career hat trick as part of a five-point night, leading the juggernaut Boston Bruins to an 8-0 rout of the Florida Panthers.

Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for his second shutout of the year and 10th of his career. It's his second consecutive blanking as the Bruins beat the Kings, 3-0, on December 13.

Patrice Bergeron chipped in with a goal and a pair of assists for the Bruins, who are 20-2-1 over their last 23 contests. They've taken the lead in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of Philadelphia.

"It's a lot of fun being on this team right now," Marchand said.

The Bruins seemed like they had something to prove after a 2-0 home shutout loss to the Panthers on December 8. They've won six in a row since that defeat.

Jose Theodore gave up four goals on 14 shots before being lifted after one period. Scott Clemmensen made 17 saves while playing the final two periods for the Panthers, losers of three in a row.

"We were very porous," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "We didn't generate any offense."

Marchand, who scored early in the first, put in goals exactly nine minutes apart in the third. The first in that sequence came on a centering pass from the right circle that deflected off Florida defenseman Keaton Ellerby and past Clemmensen.

He completed the hat trick at 10:53 of the third. Tyler Seguin passed the puck from the right circle to the inside part of the left where Marchand made personal history.

Marchand's initial goal, at 5:56 of the opening period, came while the Bruins were shorthanded. With Gregory Campbell in the penalty box for high-sticking, Marchand skated with the puck behind the net to the right circle before delivering a successful wrist shot.

Boston scored three times in a span of 5:22 later in the first. Milan Lucic tallied on the power play thanks to a fortunate bounce. Bergeron's long shot caromed off the boards on the left side. Lucic was alone at the same side of the net to pot his 12th goal of the season, at the 13:40 mark.

Benoit Pouliot and Dennis Seidenberg lit the lamp just 31 seconds apart to make it 4-0. Pouliot's goal came in a 4-on-4 situation, when he skated through the left circle, past defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, to the slot before firing a backhander to the right side of the net.

Seidenberg's goal came with 57.2 seconds left in the first on a blast from above the left circle.

It became 5-0, 3:50 into the second on Campbell's wrist shot from the slot.

Bergeron scored on the power play with 4:10 left in the middle stanza off a deflection. He centered the puck from the right side and the disc bounced off Florida's Ed Jovanovski and into the net.

"We're trying to establish consistency throughout 60 minutes...we can't be satisfied," Bergeron said.

Game Notes

The eight goals were a season-best for the Bruins, who have blanked their opponents in three of their last five games...Boston is 11-1-1 in its last 13 home contests...Florida center Stephen Weiss sat out with an upper body injury.

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