For a while there, you could be forgiven for thinking it was déja vu all over again.
The Bruins, after playing a sluggish and sloppy first period, found themselves down 2-0 and looked likely to suffer another home defeat at the hands of the Florida Panthers.
However, the B’s picked up the pace in periods two and three, getting goals from Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy to tie the game.
They then killed a five-minute match penalty to McAvoy late in the third to get to overtime, where Pavel Zacha won it for the good guys.
As mentioned, the first period was bad — and the Panthers got on the board six minutes in when Aleksander Barkov cashed in on a 2-on-1 to make it 1-0 Florida.
Sasha Barkov gives the Panthers the lead in Boston. pic.twitter.com/yYMhiT20ak— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 30, 2023
Barkov was involved again a few minutes later, forcing a turnover from Matthew Poitras and feeding Bruins Killer Sam Reinhart to make it 2-0 Florida.
Barkov with the swipe and set-up!— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) October 30, 2023
8th goal of the season for Reinhart. pic.twitter.com/qa8cg5n9cA
To make matters worse, the Bruins lost Matt Grzelcyk to an injury midway through the first. He did not return.
BUT! Things got better after that.
After a great effort and look from Jake DeBrusk, Brad Marchand beat Sergei Bobrovsky with a dribbler to make it 2-1 Florida early in the second.
Brad Marchand puts Boston on the board.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 31, 2023
Nice feed from Jake DeBrusk to set the play up.
2-1 game. pic.twitter.com/6IE6dKERaE
The score would remain that way until McAvoy completed a great team play with a nice deke on Bobrovsky, making it a 2-2 game.
Unfortunately, McAvoy’s night would end a few minutes later: he received a match penalty and was ejected from the game for this blindside hit to the head on Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Charlie McAvoy has been given a 5-minute match penalty for this hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson. pic.twitter.com/el8lOEY8M3— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 31, 2023
Florida peppered Linus Ullmark with shots on the ensuing five-minute power play, but couldn’t cash in. The B’s completed the kill and the game headed to overtime.
Unlike the Anaheim game, the Bruins elected to possess the pucks for spells this time around. It worked out much better.
After a Florida shot missed the net, Zacha took the puck the other way and beat Bobrovsky with a wrister to give the Bruins a 3-2 win.
- Well, that was fun! Maybe not the first period, but the rest was pretty entertaining. Call it a team-builder, a statement win, whatever. A big two points.
- McAvoy will certainly get suspended for the hit on Ekman-Larsson, probably for three or four games. It was a dumb hit, and while I don’t think McAvoy targeted Ekman-Larsson’s head, he certainly didn’t do enough to avoid head contact.
- Jim Montgomery noted after the game that Grzelcyk may miss a few weeks with his upper-body injury. I’d assume Ian Mitchell would be the first in line to be called up, but we’ll see if the B’s do something else with both Grzelcyk and McAvoy out.
- I mentioned in the Detroit game recap that the Bruins’ penalty kill continues to be an asset, and it certainly was tonight. Florida spent 25% of the third period on the power play, but couldn’t score. The B’s killed all three of their penalties on the night.
- It is officially decision time on Poitras, with the team presumably making things official tomorrow. I still can’t imagine that they send him back to juniors. His production may have cooled a bit and the turnover on the second Florida goal was bad, but he still looks very much at home at the NHL level and had the fifth-most ice time among Bruins forwards.
- One thing I noticed (unless my eyes deceived me): I’m pretty sure Poitras remained on the ice for the shift immediately after that goal. Past regimes may have stapled him to the bench for that error, but Jim Montgomery and Co. took a different approach.
- Jack Edwards is officially BACK, with the “THROW THE CAT OFF THE CLIFF” call after Zacha’s goal. Is it a Lion King reference? What does it mean? I love it.
- Speaking of Zacha, he also had an assist on McAvoy’s goal. He was points in four games in a row (3G-2A-5PTS).
- Per Boston Sports Info on Twitter, the Bruins have won 79 of their last 100 regular season games. You’ll always get the “WHO CARES CHOKED IN THE PLAYOFFS” crowd (and there’s certainly some legitimacy to that point), but we’re probably all underselling the run this team has been on over the past couple seasons.
The Bruins will be back in action on Thursday night, when Toronto comes to town.