Pirri scores winner in shootout as Panthers top Bruins 2-1

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SUNRISE, Florida — This victory had been a long time coming for the Florida Panthers.

Brandon Pirri scored the winning shootout goal to lead the Panthers over the Bruins 2-1 on Saturday night. Florida won its second in a row, and beat Boston for the first time since a 6-2 home victory March 15, 2012 — a span of 10 games.

The Panthers also stayed in the hunt for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston is one point ahead of Ottawa in the Eastern Conference. The Senators beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Saturday. The Panthers are four points behind the Bruins, and three points behind the Senators.

"It was a playoff game, playoff intensity. You could feel it," Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said. "We're happy we got the win. You'd have liked to have gotten it in regulation, obviously, but we'll take the two points and move on here."

Pirri skated in slowly and beat Tuukka Rask five-hole in the second round of the shootout.

"When you slow up like that, you've got a lot of options," Pirri said. "It didn't look like he was reacting, so I just tried to slide it in there."

Luongo turned aside all three of Boston's shooters for his seventh shootout win this season.

Jimmy Hayes scored in regulation for the Panthers, and Luongo made 26 saves in his second start since returning from a shoulder injury.

"We're in a situation where we battled hard and we found a way to get two points," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "It keeps us in the race, and that's what we want."

Patrice Bergeron scored, and Rask stopped 24 shots in the Bruins' fourth straight loss.

"It was a tight game like it was supposed to be, but we're basing ourselves on results and we got a point," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We want to get two, so we're still disappointed with the loss."

The Bruins are 3-9 in shootouts this season.

"I really hope it doesn't come to a shootout at the end," Rask said. "We haven't been able to get better at those. If it's a do-or-die situation we have to find a way to win."

Bergeron tied the game at 1 on a power-play goal in the second. Ryan Spooner made a nice pass to Bergeron in the slot and he one-timed the puck between Luongo's pads and into the back of net at 2:52. The goal was Bergeron's 20th, the sixth time he has scored at least that many.

Hayes gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Dave Bolland backhanded the puck to Hayes in front and he poked it past Rask with 5:19 left in the first.

NOTES: Panthers forward Shawn Thornton played in his 600th NHL game. Thornton also played 605 games in 10 seasons in the AHL, joining Dave Creighton and Jim Morrison as the only players to have at least 600 games in both leagues. ... Jagr tied F John Bucyk for 12th all-time games played in the NHL with 1,540. ... Bruins D Dougie Hamilton left in the second period and did not return. ... F Reilly Smith was a healthy scratch. ... C David Krejci is with the team and close to returning from a knee injury, but missed his 14th game.

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