It’s official: At eight games, this is the longest home losing streak in Florida Panthers history.
Thursday night’s record-breaking defeat came on a Torey Krug goal with 51.7 seconds left in overtime, leading the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Panthers.
The Panthers’ 2003 team had the previous record with seven consecutive home defeats.
Krug’s wrist shot brought a quick end to a frenzied overtime period as the Panthers tried in vain to get the extra point in the standings.
This Panthers’ slump has happened seemingly just as quickly. The Panthers were the highest scoring team in the NHL and on a six-game win streak at the All-Star break. Since then, they are 5-11-3.
In a sense, the Panthers’ effort on Thursday was encouraging considering that the Bruins — who have won four consecutive games — own the best record in the NHL with 98 points.
“It sucks losing, especially after all the effort we put in,” said MacKenzie Weegar, who scored the only Panthers goal. “It’s one of our best defensive games of the year. I don’t think [the Bruins] had a lot of zone time.
“After a few days off [since playing on Sunday], we had more physicality and more bite to our game tonight. We will take all the positivity we can and get back on the ice tomorrow [for practice].”
Besides Krug, Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston, and backup goalie Jaroslav Halak had 32 saves.
For Bergeron, it was the sixth time he has reached 30 goals, including his current streak of three consecutive seasons.
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Halak improved to 18-6-6 this season, including 2-0-0 against the Panthers.
Weegar’s goal was his sixth of the season. Lucas Wallmark and Brett Connolly had assists.
Panthers goalie Chris Driedger, who was recalled on Monday from Springfield of the American Hockey League, played his first NHL game since Jan. 16, which was also Florida’s last home win. Driedger, who had been out due to a lower-body injury, made 26 saves. In his one rehab start for Springfield, he had allowed six goals.
Driedger played on Thursday in place of starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who is injured.
Florida opened the scoring with 6:55 expired in the second period. Weegar, using a Wallmark screen, scored from the high slot. Halak never moved until the puck sailed past his stick.
Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman, who was hit in the face with a puck on a shot by Boston’s Brad Marchand, left the game with 1:47 left in the second period. However, he returned in the third.
Boston tied the score 1-1 with 11:00 gone in the second on Bergeron’s power-play deflection of a shot by Krug.
The power play was set up by an elbowing call on Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov, who struck Brandon Carlo in the face. The penalty was originally called a five-minute major but was reversed after a video review. Just 14 seconds later, the Bruins had their tying goal.
Boston’s defense, which has allowed the fewest goals in the league, did the rest, shutting down the Panthers.