The line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton has been the subject of plenty of scrutiny over the last couple of days after Claude Julien bemoaned their recent trend of over-passing and veering away from their strength of “North/South” hockey. The hope was that a few words of criticism could get them to simplifying their game and playing good, old fashioned power hockey.

It wasn’t perfect on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, but at least the Bruins head coach saw some progress from his top line in Boston’s 4-1 victory at TD Garden. The Krejci line accounted for 10 of Boston’s 32 shots on the evening, and set up Zdeno Chara’s first period goal to kick things off for them offensively.

“[They were] a little bit better, I thought those guys skated a little bit better tonight, so it was a step in the right direction,” said Julien. “We know they’re capable of doing more, but what we wanted to see was a step in the right direction.”

There were still moments like in the second period when Milan Lucic turned down a wide open shot from the left wing on a 3-on-2 rush in favor of a cross-ice pass to Nathan Horton that was easily broken up by the Florida defense.

But Chara’s goal came on the long rebound of a David Krejci shot from the slot after fore-checking work by Horton and Lucic. The brawny left winger had three hits and was doing a little better job lining up opposing defenseman for hits in the corner, but there were still plenty of times when he had a difficult time getting his skating legs moving.