The loss means the two Atlantic Division foes cannot face each other in the first round of the playoffs and that the Panthers will begin the postseason against either the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins.
Gustav Forsling opened the scoring eight minutes into first when a clearing attempt by Matt Grzelcyk went awry and ended up on his stick and he snapped a long shot through traffic by Linus Ullmark for his tenth goal of the season.
The Bruins took the lead later in the frame with former Panther Erik Haula and Taylor Hall scoring six seconds apart.
Hall slipped Radko Gudas at the blue line and sent David Pastrnak and Haula in on Sergei Bobrovsky and Pasta fed Haula for the put-away at 16:18.
Right after the ensuing faceoff, Hall swatted the puck away from Mackenzie Weegar with Pastrnak taking possession and sending his linemate off on a successful breakaway. Hall ripped a shot over Bobrovsky’s glove from between the circles that the goalie didn’t even react to. Ugh!
Sam Reinhart would beat the buzzer to even the score after twenty minutes. With Brandon Carlo off for slashing, Anthony Duclair sent a short pass to Claude Giroux, who let go of a one-timer that Reinhart tipped off Linus Ullmark and the post before he cleaned up the loose rebound for his 32nd.
The Bruins forged ahead 4:59 into the second stanza when Jake DeBrusk potted the rebound after Brad Marchand flung a high shot on goal from near the right boards that Bobrovsky couldn’t handle. Patrice Bergeron drew the second assist on the game-winner.
Florida would produce just ten shots on goal, with only three of them coming in the third, the rest of the way and come empty.
Bergeron would set up Marchand’s empty-net clincher with 3:55 remaining in regulation and Bobrovsky off for an extra attacker.
Boston out-shot the Panthers, who seemed to lose interest after the first period, 38-21. The Bruins got production for their star players while Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t do much, each finishing with one shot on goal and a -2 rating. The road trip moves north of the border where the Cats will face Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal on Friday to finish off the regular season.
Beans & Honey
- Gustav Forsling scored Florida’s 100th first-period goal of the season. The Cats have at least 100 goals in all three regulation periods (109 in the second; 108 in the third). Since 1995-96, only the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning and 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins are the only other teams to have done that.
- Jonathan Huberdeau was held off the score sheet for only the second time in the last 20 games. With two assists in his last three games Huberdeau is now seven points behind Connor McDavid.
- Erik Haula and Taylor Hall tied for the second fastest two goals in Bruins history. Ray Getliffe and Leroy Goldsworthy scored five seconds apart against the Toronto Maple Leafs back on January 4, 1938.
- Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots and remained stuck on 39 wins. Linus Ullmark had a much easier outing, finishing with 19 saves.
- Boston will meet either the Carolina Hurricanes or Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. Highly likely it’ll be the team once known as the Hartford Whalers.
- Florida lost a close season series to the Bruins, going 1-1-1. Read more about it at Stanley Cup of Chowder.