The Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-2, tonight at the TD Garden. With the added two points, the Bruins can finish no lower than the first wild-card spot.
The Bruins outshot the Panthers, 38-21, in the win and 16-3 in the third period alone.
It was a solid effort throughout the lineup and had a little bit of everything in the win to be encouraged about with playoffs around the corner.
The Panthers struck first midway through the first period on a goal from Gustav Forsling after what was a solid penalty kill by the Bruins.
Although Florida got on the board first, the B’s had good offensive-zone coverage throughout the frame and chances in the slot because they carried the puck to the front of the net. The team’s first PK was aggressive with Hampus Lindholm stepping up and Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy creating opportunities.
As the period progressed, the Bruins answered back with two goals within six seconds from Erik Haula and Taylor Hall as the second line exploded with offense.
But the Panthers had their best chances of the game during the first period and capitalized on a late power play. Sam Reinhart evened the game with his tally from the goal line with one second remaining in the period.
But the B’s started the second period strong and carried the momentum into the offensive zone. The defense was engaged in pressure and helped generate offense by pinching low and following up on rebounds.
The Bruins’ top line got the go-ahead tally on a drive to the net where Jake DeBrusk potted Marchand’s rebound.
Florida did pressure Linus Ullmark in the middle frame, especially their first line. But the Bruins limited space for the Panthers’ to set up rushes and the B’s forecheck pushed them to the outside. Ullmark also kept on top of his game and was quick to cover loose pucks and prevent rebounds.
Despite limiting the Panthers’ chances on 5v5 and being the better team tonight on even-strength overall, the Bruins still struggled on the power play and their first advantage in the second period.
They had two more power plays in the third period. The first unit had better cycling in the following power plays which led to Patrice Bergeron and Hall getting slot shots off, but some mishandling allowed for plays to die out.
The Bruins held the Panthers to only three shots on goal in the final 20 minutes while they continued to ramp up their own offense. With Sergei Bobrovsky pulled, Marchand added an empty-net goal for his first goal in 11 games. Final score: 4-2 Bruins.
The B’s will host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday April 28 at 7 pm for their final home game of the regular season.
Here are the game’s highlights!
The Panthers opened the scoring at 8:00 of the first period.
Matt Grzelcyk attempted to clear the puck, but it bounced to Forsling who threw a high shot through traffic on net that traveled past Ullmark’s glove. 1-0 Panthers.
Forsy with a quiiiiiick one pic.twitter.com/OnCc9YAHKQ— z - Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 26, 2022
The Bruins tied the game at 16:18 of the first period.
Hall found David Pastrnak entering the offensive zone. In the slot, Pastrnak sent a backhanded pass to Haula crashing the net where low inside the right-wing circle, he put a one-timer past Bobrovsky’s glove. 1-1 game.
Just a little how do yah do from David Pastrnak (@pastrnak96)! pic.twitter.com/6rm6J4dWkM— NHL (@NHL) April 26, 2022
The Bruins took the lead six seconds later at 16:24 of the first period.
After a neutral zone face-off, the second line capitalized on a turnover where Pastrnak sent Hall on a breakaway. In the slot, Hall put a wrist shot over Bobrovsky’s glove. 2-1 Bruins.
Taylor TOOK OFF pic.twitter.com/DrbQlWVn46— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 27, 2022
The Panthers tied the game at 19:59 of the first period on the power play.
Just nine seconds into their power play, Claude Giroux fired a blast from the high right-wing circle. Reinhart found the rebound and along the goal line, lifted one top-shelf over Ullmark. 2-2 game.
Reino in the clutch pic.twitter.com/aifC4Qm1KG— z - Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 26, 2022
The Bruins regained the lead at 4:59 of the second period.
Crashing the net, DeBrusk picked up Marchand’s rebound for a quick, in-close shot on Bobrovsky. 3-2 Bruins.
JD from the doorstep. pic.twitter.com/4KTNlszf5i— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 27, 2022
The Bruins capped off the win with an empty-net goal from Marchand at 16:55 of the third period. Final score: 4-2 Bruins.