At this point, we’re running out of ways to describe the same problem, and now, the Bruins have officially run out of room for mistakes.
Turnovers, loose coverage, and some shaky goaltending combined into another debacle for the B’s, who lost Game 6 by a score of 7-5, setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday at the Garden.
Bear with me, there’s a lot to get to here, and not much of it is pretty.
Brandon Montour got the scoring started early for Florida, beating Linus Ullmark on a 4-on-3 PP to make it 1-0 Florida.
How about that start for the Panthers!? Montour gets the home team up early pic.twitter.com/XlxTeiQnD0— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) April 28, 2023
Tyler Bertuzzi would respond four minutes later with a playoff-style goal, banging home a loose puck in front to make it a 1-1 game.
Tyler Bertuzzi hammers home the loose puck in front!— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) April 28, 2023
What a pickup he's been for the Bruins pic.twitter.com/lCok0Ez9O8
Seven minutes later, Connor Clifton committed a brutal, unforced turnover that led to a Florida 2-on-1, which Matthew Tkachuk converted to make it 2-1 Florida.
HE'S ON FIRE! MATTHEW TKACHUK GIVES FLORIDA THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/oUT7OuFYxr— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) April 29, 2023
David Pastrnak would break his scoring drought in style early in the second period, making it a 2-2 game.
Good god, David Pastrnak pic.twitter.com/mWQyOSlohe— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 29, 2023
The Bruins appeared to take a 3-2 lead shortly after that, but the goal was wiped off the board after review due to this (alleged) hand pass by Jake DeBrusk.
This play by Jake DeBrusk was ruled a hand pass, negating a Bruins goal.— BarDown (@BarDown) April 29, 2023
Was it the right call?
( : TNT) pic.twitter.com/ZQ199k5cCF
Aleksandr Barkov would break his own scoring drought a few minutes later, making it 3-2 Florida.
Sasha Barkov scores his first of the #StanleyCup Playoffs! pic.twitter.com/9RRNGw1AUv— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 29, 2023
90 seconds into the third, Bertuzzi was back at it with a laser, making it a 3-3 game for real this time.
Tyler Bertuzzi snipes one to make it 3-3: pic.twitter.com/ivRChsTt5F— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) April 29, 2023
Just two minutes later, the B’s would take their first lead of the night, with the Bertuzzi-Pastrnak connection cashing in on the power play to make it 4-3 Bruins.
PERFECT PASS FROM BERTUZZI TO PASTRNAK FOR THE LEAD!!!!!!!— Boston Sports Gordo (@BOSSportsGordo) April 29, 2023
Not content to be ahead for once, the Bruins somehow leave Zac Dale all alone in the slot, and...yeah. 4-4 game.
ZAC DALPE'S FIRST CAREER PLAYOFF GOAL COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME@FlaPanthers | #TimeToHunt pic.twitter.com/S7fjGD8agr— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) April 29, 2023
After a Hampus Lindholm delay of game penalty, a great effort from Pavel Zacha led to a solo chance for Jake DeBrusk, and he didn’t miss. 5-4 Bruins.
DEBRUSK WITH THE SHORTY! pic.twitter.com/r2WgefNCbx— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 29, 2023
Once again, the Bruins decided they didn’t like being ahead, allowing a game-tying PPG to Tkachuk 27 seconds later and making it a 5-5 game.
MATTHEW FREAKIN' TKACHUK pic.twitter.com/BsNftQO5PO— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 29, 2023
The B’s would go behind for good just over three minutes later, as Eetu Luostarinen beats Ullmark on a shot you simply have to save in that situation. 6-5 Panthers.
THERE WILL BE A GAME 7 IN BOSTON— NHL (@NHL) April 29, 2023
The @FlaPanthers would not go away quietly in Game 6, and shortly after the teams traded third period goals, Eetu Luostarinen RIPS home the eventual game winner! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/8HsayvGv6H
The B’s had a decent chance with the goalie pulled on a net-front scramble, but Sam Reinhart would end it with a bank-shot empty netter from his own face-off circle.
Bruins LOSE, 7-5 final.
- I don’t even know where to being. Terrible turnovers. Huge gaps in coverage. Let ups in intensity. Leaky goaltending. It all came together, in a bad way.
- It’s unfair to heap too much blame on the coach, as the players are the ones on the ice. But it’s fair, at this point, to question whether or not Jim Montgomery has pushed the wrong buttons in this series. Clifton drew back in tonight and was directly responsible for the second goal and again failed to get the puck out (with some non-help from Nick Foligno) on the game-winner. He was a minus-3, and unless Matt Grzelcyk is actually hurt, won’t be playing in Game 7.
- Speaking of won’t be playing, you have to think Linus Ullmark will be on the bench for Game 7. As many of you have noted, he simply hasn’t looked right in recent games in this series, and tonight saw more of that. Swayman probably should have started a game before now, but he almost certainly will start (now with even more rust) after tonight.
- That’s not to say that the loss was Ullmark’s fault, as I wouldn’t necessarily classify any of the goals as truly soft. But the Luostarinen one in particular, and probably the Montour goal, are ones you’d expect Ullmark to stop. Luostarinen deserves some credit for a well placed shot, but replays showed there was no deflection and no real screen.
- The B’s also got “not good enough” performances from two of their leaders, as Patrice Bergeron and the returning David Krejci were both pointless. Bergeron, surprisingly, finished at minus-3.
- It was nice to see Pastrnak get on the board (twice), though many will fairly point at the missed breakaway in the third too. If goalscorers thrive on confidence, he should be in a better place heading into Game 7.
- I know plus-minus has its flaws, but it’s worth noting that Charlie Coyle was the only Bruin to skate out of this game in the black at plus-1.
- For all of their terrible play, the Bruins still had two different one-goal leads in the third period, and blew both of them. I’m not entirely sure what Forbort was thinking leaving Tkachuk alone for two whacks at goal on the 5-5 goal, and the lack of coverage on the Dalpe goal is simply inexcusable.
- The B’s are now heading home for Game 7, where they’ve been the worse team in this series and, paraphrasing Montgomery, might be turning the puck over too much because they’re trying to hard to please the fans. Everything is fine.
So there you have it! On the balance of things, it’s hard to argue that the Bruins have deserved better from this series thus far.
To their credit, Florida has been the better team for long stretches, and now the Panthers come back to Boston with (given expectations) nothing to lose and all the pressure on the home team.
The league hasn’t announced a start time for Game 7 yet, as it’s likely awaiting the outcome of the rest of Friday’s games.
Let you anger out in the comments, this is a (relatively) safe space.
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