Panthers Beat Bruins; Will Take on Rangers in Round 3

The Hockey Writers

The Florida Panthers overcame the Boston Bruins to return to the Eastern Conference Final for the second consecutive season. As well, it is the second consecutive season that the Bruins’ season ended in a playoff loss to the Panthers.

The first period was dominated to start by the Panthers but ultimately fell in the Bruins’ favor courtesy of a Pavel Zacha backhand goal, which gave them the lead with less than a minute left in the period. While they took the lead into the period, it did not last long as the Panthers came out firing to start the second period. After some quality scoring chances, Anton Lundell found a loose puck to tie the game at one.

Lundell has been a star for the Panthers in the playoffs thus far, providing high-end offense as well as stellar defense. Since he is due for a new contract this offseason, he has likely earned some extra cash as a result of his play.

The third period was a classic playoff matchup, going back and forth between the two sides. A Panthers’ power play was cut short by an Evan Rodrigues tripping minor. On Boston’s shortened power play, Alexander Barkov may have saved the game for Florida by blocking a David Pastrnak shot on an open net. Barkov went to the locker room with a left-hand injury following the shift but returned for the final 1:26.

With under two minutes to go, Gustav Forsling found the back of the net to put Florida on top 2-1. The Bruins tried to tie the game late but could not beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

Boston may have been eliminated, but Jeremy Swayman continued his dominance, stopping 26 of 28 shots faced. After disastrous Game 2 and 3 performances, Swayman returned to his dominant self, setting himself up nicely to cash in on a major contract this summer.

Related: 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2 Hub

Bobrovsky continued to shine in this series. After giving up four goals on 28 shots in a Game 1 loss to Boston, Bobrosvky has dominated, keeping Boston’s elite forwards off the scoresheet. As his playoff journey continues, expect his play to only improve as he chases his first Stanley Cup.

Defensive structure played a massive factor in this game, with both teams minimizing high-danger chances within their zone. Boston’s top chances were primarily around the net, but they did not get many looks elsewhere. Outside of Lundell, Florida’s top forwards failed to capitalize on their high-danger chances.

News and Notes

Zacha opened the scoring in Game 6. The Bruins now own an all-time record of 36-27-1 when scoring first in potential elimination games and a 24-15-1 record when doing so at home.

Zacha’s goal was the first of his postseason career and he became the fifth Bruins player in the past 10 years to do so in a potential elimination game. The others: Curtis Lazar (Game 6 of 2022 Round 1), Karson Kuhlman (Game 6 of 2019 Stanley Cup Final), Danton Heinen (Game 7 of 2018 Round 1) and Sean Kuraly (Game 5 of 2017 Round 1).

The Panthers have recorded two comeback wins in potential series-clinching games in franchise history: 2022 first Rrund at the Washington Capitals and 2023 first round at Boston.

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice will look to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive time as Florida’s head coach. He is also searching for his first Stanley Cup as a head coach.

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