BOSTON (The Sports Xchange) — Ryan Spooner wasn’t born when Jaromir Jagr broke into the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990.READ MORE: Florida COVID Hospitalizations Continue To Drop
Saturday, the 23-year-old Bruins center scored two goals to lead Boston to a 3-1 victory over Jagr and the Florida Panthers.
By not scoring, the 43-year-old Jagr remained tied with Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 731.
Spooner scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season as the Bruins (16-9-3) beat the Panthers (14-12-4) for the ninth straight time at TD Garden and improved to 12-1-1 in the last 14 games against Florida, 18-3-1 in the last 21.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask (14-2-1 lifetime against Florida) had an easy path until the third period, when the Panthers took over the play and former Bruins right winger Reilly Smith scored on a slap shot with 6:04 left.
Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo was barely to the bench for an extra attacker when Boston left winger Brad Marchand scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season into the empty net with 1:23 left — center Patrice Bergeron notching his second assists of the game on the goal.
After a slow start to the season, Rask, who made 26 stops, 13 in the third period, is 6-0-2 in his last eight starts.READ MORE: Biden Administration Unveils Program To Help Move Afghan Refugees From US Military Bases Into Permanent Homes
Luongo, who had a rough time of it in goal for the Vancouver Canucks when the Bruins beat them in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, made 22 saves but gave up a soft second goal to Spooner. He fell to 10-11-3 on the season.
It was the third two-goal game of Spooner’s NHL career.
Panthers center Dave Bolland, who scored the 2013 Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Bruins at TD Garden, was guilty of throwing a poor pass toward the blue line as the Bruins took the lead 11:35 into the game. The puck went directly to defenseman Torey Krug, whose shot was tipped out of the air by Spooner.
Luongo immediately waved his glove calling for a high stick, the goal was reviewed, the replays were inconclusive and the goal stood.
Spooner made it 2-0 on the Bruins’ league-leading power play eight minutes into the second. Boston kept the puck for the entire 90-plus seconds and Spooner then wristed one through Luongo’s pads — a shot that probably should have been stopped.
Smith put his eighth goal of the season through Rask’s pads to cut the Boston lead in half — a shot that Rask should have stopped.
Earlier in the third period, Bruins left winger Zac Rinaldo nailed Panthers rookie center Connor Brickley with a hard check and former Bruins right winger Shawn Thornton stepped in and pummeled him to the ice. Brickley, who absorbed three major hits in the game, went to the locker room, joining center Derek McKenzie, injured earlier, but returned to finish the game.MORE NEWS: Centner Academy Reverses Course On 30-Day Quarantine For Vaccinated Students
NOTES: Florida C Connor Brickley, the local product whose cousin, former NHL player Andy Brickley, is a Bruins broadcaster, had to buy all kinds of tickets, including a couple of suites, for the game. … Former Bruins player and coach Mike Sullivan was named interim coach by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who fired Mike Johnston and are in Boston on Wednesday night. … Bruins RW Jimmy Hayes, a former Panther, left after taking a first-period un-penalized poke to the head by former Bruin Shawn Thornton but was back for the second. … Panthers C Vincent Trocheck played in his 100th NHL game, but D Steven Kampfer missed what would have been his 100th because of a knee injury. … D Alex Petrovic made the trip with the Panthers but missed his eighth straight game with a foot injury, while C Nick Bjugstad missed his seventh in a row and was placed on injured reserve. … Former Bruin John McKenzie celebrated his 78th birthday at the game and was joined in a suite by Bruins patriarch Milt Schmidt, looking great at 97. … The Bruins opened a stretch of six of the next seven games at home.