Chara scores twice, leads Bruins to 4-3 victory over Panthers

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SUNRISE, Fla. - Zdeno Chara came up big at both ends of the ice.

The six-foot-nine defenceman scored two goals and kept Florida's leading scorer Olli Jokinen mostly in check to lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory Thursday night. Boston won for the sixth time in eight games, and broke a six-game losing streak to the Panthers dating to Nov. 3, 2005. Glen Metropolit and Phil Kessel added goals, and Tim Thomas stopped 32 shots.

Steve Montador, David Booth and Jokinen scored for Florida, and Craig Anderson made 34 saves in his first start since Nov. 13 at Atlanta.

"We outplayed them and deserved to get the win," Thomas said. "Jokinen is one of the best forwards in the league and 'Z' was able to frustrate him most of the night."

The loss snapped Florida's winning streak at a season-best four games and prevented the Panthers from breaking the .500 mark for the first time this season.

"As a forward you have to make yourself available and find a way to get pucks," Jokinen said. "That was a big problem for us tonight. We couldn't get out of our end of the zone."

Florida, coming off a 2-1 shootout victory Wednesday night in Washington, started slow and was outshot 17-6 in the first period.

"Travelling and playing the night before we wanted to keep it simple," Montador said. "You could say that's the reason we didn't come strong in the first period. That's the only thing we can look to right now to define that first period. We started to battle back but it was too late."

Booth's wrist shot at 17:41 of the third made the score 4-2, and Jokinen took a pass from Nathan Horton in front and pushed the puck past Thomas at 19:30.

"We're happy with the win but not satisfied with the ending," Chara said.

Boston stretched its lead to 3-1 on Chara's second power-play goal of the game at 16:24 of the second. His shot from just inside the blue-line went between Anderson's pads.

Kessel's goal at 4:57 of the third pushed Boston's advantage to 4-1. His shot from the top of the right circle went over Anderson's high stick side into the net.

The Bruins went ahead 2-0 just 39 seconds into the second period. Aaron Ward took a shot from the blue-line above the right circle. Anderson blocked the shot but Metropolit got the tip in.

About two minutes later, Florida closed to 2-1 on Montador's slapshot from above the right circle. It went through Thomas's legs at 2:49.

Boston took a 1-0 lead on Chara's power-play goal at 10:11 of the first period. Marco Sturm took a pass to the right of the crease, then passed it across to Chara on the left side. Chara poked the puck past Anderson on the stick side.

"We weren't sharp in the first period," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "We didn't get in until late last night and they (Boston) hadn't played since Monday and it showed."

Notes: Boston forward Milan Lucic (concussion) was scratched. ... Florida's Mike Van Ryn (wrist) missed his third game.



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