SUNRISE, Fla. — Backup goalie Chad Johnson beat the Florida Panthers for the second time in six days, leading the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 victory Sunday night at the BB&T Center.
The Bruins couldn’t score on Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo in the first half of the game, but they got four shots past him in the final 30:02.
Boston scored twice within one minute in the third period, and those goals — by center Patrice Bergeron and right winger Jarome Iginla — proved to be the difference.
The Bruins also got an empty-net goal from center Chris Kelly with 1:08 left.
Johnson, 27, made 20 saves to win for the seventh time in his past nine starts. He is 13-3-1 in what is already the best season of his young career.
The Bruins earned their fifth consecutive win, putting them one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the battle for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers and Bruins played a scoreless first period. Luongo made 12 saves, while Johnson saved seven shots. That was due, in part, to the Panthers having to kill two penalties and the Bruins just one.
The Panthers got the first goal seven minutes into the second period. Right winger Jimmy Hayes — using his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame to park himself in front of the net — slapped in a rebound off a shot by center Nick Bjugstad.
Hayes, a Boston native, had the left side of the net wide open and did not miss, earning his sixth goal of the season.
At 9:58 of the second period, Boston tied the score 1-1 on a power-play goal by center Carl Soderberg, his 12th of the season.
Soderberg got a tip-in off a slap shot by defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was acquired on Wednesday from the Philadelphia Flyers and made his Boston debut Sunday.
The power play was created when the Panthers were ruled to have too many men on the ice.
As soon as the goal was scored, Luongo pointed at the Bruins, arguing either that Soderberg was in the crease or that he scored due to a kick. However, after a video review, the goal stood.
Boston nearly took the lead early in the third period, but Luongo stopped center Gregory Campbell on a breakaway.
With 12:52 left in the third, Luongo came up big again, stopping center Brad Marchand, who was alone in front.
Thirty seconds later, the Bruins beat Luongo on a goal by defenseman Torey Krug. He was set up by Marchand, who spun around and delivered a perfect pass to Krug.
Boston made it 3-1 with 8:39 left in the third period on Bergeron’s 18th goal of the season. Bergeron was parked in the slot when he got a perfect pass from Loui Eriksson.
Florida cut its deficit to 3-2 when Hayes poked a loose puck past Johnson with 8:10 left. Center Jonathan Huberdeau got the assist.
Iginla then took a cross-ice pass and beat Luongo high to the stick side with 7:47 to go, sealing Florida’s fate.
Luongo ended the night with 37 saves.
NOTES: Before G Tim Thomas was traded last week to the Dallas Stars, the Panthers had designated today as Thomas Bobblehead Night. Despite the trade, the team went ahead with the promotion, giving dolls to the first 7,500 fans. … In a nod to the Panthers’ new goalie, they also gave fans Roberto Luongo posters. … The Bruins rested G Tuukka Rask after he had started four of Boston’s past five games, including Saturday’s 4-3 win over Tampa. … The Bruins on Sunday scratched D Corey Potter, RW Jordan Caron and D Dougie Hamilton. … Bruins D Adam McQuaid has been shut down for the next few weeks to due to a quadriceps injury. … The Panthers had no scratches for the second straight game. The reason for that is simple: After all their moves at the trading deadline, the Panthers have just 20 players on the active roster, which is the league minimum.