SUNRISE, Fla. — At 17:42 of Sunday’s second period, Milan Lucic blew his top.
Lucic was sent off for four minutes after he was whistled for cross-checking and roughing penalties on Mike Weaver. Seventy-one seconds later, Lucic’s mouth landed him in even more trouble. Referee Chris Lee tagged Lucic with a 10-minute misconduct, sending the left wing to the dressing room for the rest of the period.
The Bruins were shorthanded for four minutes. They were without their No. 1 left wing until more than halfway through the third period.
Lucic’s boss didn’t have an issue with his infractions.
Lucic was responding to Weaver’s hit from behind. The Florida defenseman had bumped Lucic headfirst into the boards. No penalty was called.
“When I looked at it between periods, it appeared to be a cross-check,’’ Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Weaver’s play. “And [Lucic] wasn’t quite close to the boards. We felt that there maybe could have been an original call and we could have been on the power play vs. being down for four minutes. That’s Milan showing his character. We like him for what he is. He just reacted to what he thought was a dangerous play on him. I’ll accept that. So will the team. As you saw, we made sure we killed that off.’’
The Panthers didn’t score on the power play. The Bruins had the best scoring chance of the four minutes. At the end of the second, Rich Peverley had a shorthanded breakaway. Jacob Markstrom turned back Peverley’s attempt with his blocker.
The Panthers went 0 for 4 on the power play. Tuukka Rask stopped all seven power-play shots. The Bruins are killing at a league-leading 94.8 percent efficiency rate. They haven’t allowed a power-play goal since Feb. 6 against Montreal.
“It’s something we’re trying to thrive on all year. We’re doing that night in and night out right now so far,’’ said Daniel Paille. “One thing we want to do is not take it for granted. We’re being patient and positioned well. The rest of the year should be all right as long as we play like that.’’
Paille scored the team’s second shorthanded goal of the season. It took place at 18:23 of the third with Markstrom pulled for an extra skater. Only New Jersey (four) has more shorthanded goals.
Preparing for grind
Sunday’s game kicked off the hardest stretch of the Bruins’ remaining schedule. It was the first of 34 games in a 63-day span. They have just one two-day break left before the end of the regular season.
“It’s the end of the easy schedule,’’ Julien said. “The tough one kicks in starting this afternoon. We’re aware of that. We’ve got some games in hand that we’ve got to win along the way if we want to get back to being one of the top teams.’’
Rask has started 12 of the team’s 15 games. It’s likely Rask will cede more starts to Anton Khudobin. The No. 2 goalie could start against the Islanders on Tuesday.
Aaron Johnson, Jay Pandolfo, and Lane MacDermid were the healthy scratches. The Bruins have been able to avoid significant injuries so far. But given their remaining schedule, it’s likely that the three extra players will see action. “I’m more convinced than not that we’re going to have to use them out of necessity more than just having to keep them fresh,’’ Julien said in anticipation of future injuries. “We don’t want guys sitting around forever. At the same time, the guys they’d be replacing are playing well enough right now that we can’t pull them out. Certainly we’ve got some depth. We plan on using that depth.’’ . . . The Bruins didn’t record a fight for the fifth straight game. It is the longest duration of peace this season . . . Ex-Panther Dennis Seidenberg was credited with a game-high eight hits . . . Adam McQuaid left the game briefly in the first period. He was hurt after blocking a Drew Shore shot seconds before Florida’s only goal . . . Brad Marchand entered the game with nine goals on 20 shots. He landed a game-best six shots on Markstrom, but couldn’t find the back of the net . . . Alex Kovalev celebrated his 40th birthday by being a healthy scratch.