Greg WyshynskiESPN4 minute read
The Florida Panthers stunned the Boston Bruins with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 5 on Wednesday, defiantly avoiding what could have been the first Stanley Cup playoff elimination.
Matthew Tkachuk’s goal 6:05 into overtime breathed new life into the Panthers, who had lost back-to-back home games — games in which Boston were without their top two centers — to fall behind 1-3 in the best of the seven series.
“We were supposed to be swept this series, weren’t we? Everyone was saying,” said Tkachuk, who had two points in the victory. “I don’t think anyone really gave us a chance after losing two games in a row at home. Coming here it looked like the streak was over before the game even started.
“Now they’re going down to Florida. We know there can’t be a Game 7 on their mind right now, and everyone here on Boston’s mind. So it’s up to us to see you back here again. in a few days. “
Game 6 is Friday night.
Boston entered the playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference after setting new NHL records for single-season wins (65) and points (135). Florida was the second wild-card team in the East.
The Bruins failed to close the series due to some unusual mistakes, including on the game-winning goal in overtime.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark had a miscommunication with his defenseman and handed the puck to Florida’s Carter Verhaeghe, whose quick shot Ullmark kicked into the slot. Tkachuk collected the puck and, with Ullmark on his back, rounded Bruins defensemen to score the game-winning goal.
“I thought we had really good pressure in the offensive zone. We tried to move the puck to the defenseman, but we had made a substitution, so the puck went down all the way. We just had poor management of our goalie/defenseman communication on the puck and it ended up in our net,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.
The Panthers’ other win in the series was a 6-3 win at TD Garden in Game 2.
“We tend to make big mistakes right now. I don’t know why, but the last two games at home we didn’t manage the ice or the puck, it’s one of the two,” Montgomery said.
The Panthers took the lead at 8:26 of the first period on another unusual Boston turnover. Forward Tyler Bertuzzi sent the puck past his own net, where it was intercepted by Verhaeghe. He sent a pass behind the goal line to Anthony Duclair, who hit it on the ice and into the net.
“The fact that we came out with the start that we did speaks volumes about our team, our preparation and our trust in each other,” Tkachuk said.
The Bruins tied the game on the power play at 2:27 of the second period. With Sam Bennett in the box for being held back, defender Charlie McAvoy found Brad Marchand alone in front of Sergei Bobrovsky. The keeper stopped the initial shot, but Marchand’s second effort tied the game at 1-1.
But with 1:08 left in the second period, Florida struck again through Verhaeghe. He found Bennett in the slot for his third goal of the playoffs.
The game marked the return of Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, who missed the first four games of the series after suffering an upper-body injury in the team’s regular season finale in Montreal on April 13. Boston continues to be without second-line center David Krejci, who missed his third straight game.
Bergeron made his presence felt at 4:33 of the third period, sending home a pass from Marchand for a power play goal. But Sam Reinhart responded just 41 seconds later with a power-play goal, after Boston’s Jakub Lauko was awarded a penalty for holding Tkachuk just 6 seconds after Bergeron’s goal. Tkachuk assisted on Reinhart’s goal to make it 3-2.
The Bruins regained the lead thanks to another solid play from Taylor Hall. After defenseman Brandon Carlo fired the puck from the left post, Hall grabbed the rebound. Instead of shooting immediately, he skated into the slot and then sent the puck past Bobrovsky. Hall now has five goals and three assists in the playoffs.
In the dying seconds of regulation time, Bobrovsky stopped Marchand on a breakaway to preserve the tie and give the Panthers a chance to win in overtime. Bobrovsky made 44 saves for his first win of the series.
Montgomery said the Bruins spent too much energy chasing the lead in regulation time, so they didn’t think they were sharp in overtime.
“Our effort was good. But it’s really tough to win that fourth game,” Montgomery said. “We’ll regroup tomorrow and see if we can do the job on Friday that we didn’t do tonight.”