SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)The Florida Panthers became the 14th team in NHL history to start 7-0-0 by beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Wednesday night – with coach Joel Quenneville on the bench a day after he was named in a report about the Chicago Blackhawks improperly handling sexual assault claims.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the Panthers, and Eetu Luostarinen scored the go-ahead goal. Anthony Duclair and Mason Marchment also scored, and Owen Tippett added an empty-net goal. Sam Reinhart and Gustav Forsling each had two assists.
”It gets more and more fun every game,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. ”We just keep working and find a way to get better and we’re having a lot of fun. And I don’t think anybody wants to stop.”
Charlie Coyle scored for the Bruins, and Linus Ullmark made 23 saves in his third consecutive start.
”With Bobrovsky doing what he’s doing, you have to match him punch for punch and that’s where he was a little bit better,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Quenneville is scheduled to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday about the report, which detailed an investigation into how the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks – the team Quenneville coached to the Stanley Cup – did not promptly and properly handle sexual assault claims a player made against an assistant coach.
Quenneville was not made available to the media after the game.
Leading 2-1, the Panthers stretched their lead on Duclair’s goal. He brought the puck from the side boards, skated in quickly and backhanded the puck past Ullmark with 7:20 left in the third.
Tippett’s empty-netter with 25.4 seconds provided the final score.
”The fact that we were able to turn around and get the win and (Bobrovsky) played amazing and some timely goals was great,” Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad said.
The Panthers took a 2-1 lead Luostarinen’s goal at 14:16 of the second. Reinhart passed from behind the goal line to Luostarinen in front, who poked in the puck past Ullmark.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead on the goal by Coyle at 10:37 of the first. Coyle passed from behind the net and the puck bounced off a Panthers player and into the net.
Marchment tied the score at 14:16 of the first on his wrist shot from the right circle.
”They’ve got a good team, that’s why they’re 7-0,” Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton said. ”They put the pressure on. In the first we matched that, in the second we didn’t.”
The Panthers are the 11th different franchise to have at least one 7-0-0 start, joining Buffalo, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Quebec, San Jose, Toronto and Washington.
Bruins head equipment manager Keith Robinson worked his 2,000th game and Panthers head equipment manager Teddy Richards worked his 1,500th game.
NOTES: Ekblad played his 500th NHL game. . D Brandon Montour played his 300th NHL game. . This is the second season in which Florida has at least 12 standings points through seven games; it also happened last season. The Panthers didn’t get more than 11 through seven games in any of their first 26 seasons. … Bruins C Curtis Lazar, who had been out of the lineup since the final preseason game with an elbow injury, played Wednesday. . The Panthers and Bruins play again Saturday in Boston.
Bruins: Visit Carolina on Thursday.
Panthers: Visit Detroit on Friday.