SUNRISE, Fla. (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers needed to get hot coming into the final month of the season to stay in first place in the Southeast Division. Luckily, the Panthers have seemingly hit their stride as the regular season winds down.

Jose Theodore stopped 24 shots and the Panthers scored three second-period goals Thursday night as they hammered the Boston Bruins, 6-2. Wojtek Wolski, Tomas Kopecky, John Madden, Stephen Weiss, Marcel Goc and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Panthers. Brian Campbell had three assists.

Florida has won three straight games and Thursday’s victory increased their lead in the Southeast Division to three points ahead of the Washington Capitals.

“We want to play well at home to enthuse our fan base,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “We want to be homers, be a good home team, I think we’ve shown that.”

Boston, which was one of the toughest teams to score on in the NHL, gave up six goals for the second straight game. Star goalie Tim Thomas said his team’s play recently was “twilight zone-ish.” The Bruins are 1 for 15 on the power play over their last seven games.

Florida F Kris Versteeg, tied with Tomas Fleischmann as the team’s leading scorer in goals (22), missed his ninth consecutive game with a lower-body injury.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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