Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, left, battles Panthers right wing Krys Barch during a first-period fight.	AP PHOTOSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting
Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, left, battles Panthers right wing Krys Barch during a first-period fight. AP PHOTO

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BOSTON (AP) -- David Krejci's third career hat trick couldn't have come much easier.

Krejci scored twice while all alone in the slot, then added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining of the Boston Bruins' 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

"I didn't think I had another option," Krejci said when asked about his reputation to set up teammates for empty-netters instead of shooting. "I also knew I had two goals already, so why not go for it?"

Jarome Iginla added a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who kept former Boston goalie Tim Thomas busy all night with 39 shots on goal.

The Bruins welcomed back Thomas, who may be saying goodbye to Florida after a series of deals general manager Dale Tallon made to retool the struggling Panthers' lineup. The biggest move was bringing back goalie Roberto Luongo in a trade with Vancouver, leaving the Panthers for the moment with the two goalies from the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Thomas made 35 saves. He allowed three goals before Krejci scored in an empty net.

Boston backup goalie Chad Johnson had a much quieter night, facing 24 shots as the Bruins beat Florida for the seventh straight time.

Johnson had a shutout until Florida defenseman Brian Campbell lifted a high backhander from the blue line toward the net. The puck deflected off Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski's stick with 7:13 left.


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