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Ties are getting tiresome

Offense struggles as Bruins must settle for point

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Bruins embarked on this four-game road trip in search of some consistency.

Well, they're consistently getting ties. Last night, against the Florida Panthers, the Bruins produced a shorthanded goal by veteran Ted Donato in the third period to make it a 1-1 game and that's where it stayed through overtime as Boston earned its third straight deadlock.

It marked the 13th time this season the Bruins went to the extra session (2-5-6). They extended their winless streak to four games (0-1-3-0) and the Panthers' slide reached six (0-2-3-1).

In his third straight start, goalie Andrew Raycroft stopped 30 shots -- seven in overtime -- and is unbeaten in his last four (1-0-3).

The Bruins' performance was not as good as against Philadelphia last Saturday and not as poor as against Ottawa Monday.

"I thought our team competed," said coach Mike Sullivan. "I think you really have to give the other team credit. They really battled and played hard. They were in a tough circumstance where they were looking for a win. They haven't won in quite a few games and they played with a real sense of urgency out there. I don't think we gave them a whole lot and I thought we got stronger as the game went on."

The first period was well played, with Boston outshooting Florida, 10-7. However, it was the Panthers who got on the board.

Oft-injured right wing Valeri Bure, who missed 11 games early in the season because of a strained groin, tallied his seventh goal of the year and first since Nov. 26 on a nifty move. Bure collected a pass behind the net from left wing Niklas Hagman and skated it below the left circle. Brian Rolston tried to cut him off on his way to the net, but Bure skated inside on Rolston and stickhandled in front of Raycroft. Bure swept a forehander into the far side of the net at 4:39.

"It was three-on-three down low and I just got beat," said Rolston. "I got a little bit behind him and he came out on his forehand and I was playing the shot. I [put] my stick on his stick but I was going too fast at him and he just beat me. He made a good move on me, but I've obviously got to be responsible for that goal."

Despite two power plays in the middle period, the Bruins were unable to get anything past goalie Roberto Luongo and managed only five shots in the second.

Sullivan said during the break he told his players to get the puck to the net.

"We were looking to make that extra pass to try to make that perfect play and a lot of times it isn't there," he said. "The ice gets beat up so quickly. We just told them we have to get some ugly goals, put the puck on the net and converge and get people and traffic to the net, and we'll get our scoring chances that way."

The Bruins listened, outshooting the Panthers, 15-8, in the third, but they made it tough on themselves, too, allowing two power plays. One, however, resulted in the equalizer.

With Mike Knuble off for interference at 10:02, Donato, arguably the Bruins' best player on this night, made it a tie game 50 seconds later. Sean O'Donnell, still looking for his first point of the year, made a long lead pass to Donato, who was racing up the middle. Donato skated in alone through the slot and beat Luongo with a forehand shot inside the left post. It was the first goal of the season for Donato, who was playing in his third game since being recalled from Providence. The Bruins, ranked 27th among penalty killers, became the last team in the league to record a shorthanded goal in 2003-04.

"It was kind of a scrambly play," said Donato. "The puck kind of squirted free and I saw Sean O'Donnell was going to have some time, and I just tried to find the middle of the ice. He made a great pass. He had his head up and he really found me open. It's not often you get a breakaway from the red line in, so it was nice to help contribute."

The Bruins didn't register a shot in overtime, but once again, Raycroft held the fort. "He was awesome again," said Rolston. "He's been like that all season for us."

in today's globe
 BRUINS 1, PANTHERS 1: Ties are getting tiresome
 BRUINS NOTEBOOK: No jackpot for Jillson
 NHL ROUNDUP: Wings cut off Sabres
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