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Panthers power play roasts Bruins in 6-2 victory in Boston

May 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Florida Panthers center Evan Rodrigues (17) (center) celebrtes his goal with teammates as Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) skates away during the first period of game three of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers got goals from five different players and scored four times on the power play in a convincing 6-2 road win over the Boston Bruins in Game 3 at TD Garden to seize the series lead.

Florida put the clamps on Boston from the get-go, not allowing the crowd to get into the game by limiting the Bruins to three shots on goal in the first period and taking the lead at 8:04 when the puck came back to Gustav Forsling and his shot from the left point bounced off Jeremy Swayman after Evan Rodrigues deflected it on the goalie and then deftly nudged it out of the air and into the net while keeping his stick below the cross bar.

Swayman would manage to hold his outplayed club within one until a pivotal double-minor for high-sticking was called on rookie Mason Lohrei, who drew blood from the mouth of Steven Lorentz, late in the second.

Towards the end of the first minor, a series of crisp passes saw Sam Bennett move the puck to Rodrigues, who dropped back to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who sent it over to Vladimir Tarasenko, who went back to the quarterbacking defenseman. Ekman-Larsson fed to his right to Bennett and he whipped a perfect cross to Tarasenko, who moved in and delivered a beautiful wrist shot from the left circle that found the top corner far-side on Swayman at 16:14.

Florida’s power-play struck again again exactly one minute later to put the visitors up by three. After patiently moving the vulcanized rubber around the periphery, Aleksander Barkov went down low to Matthew Tkahuck and he quickly put the puck in front where Carter Verhaeghe redirected it past Swayman.

The Cats would take advantage of a goalie interference minor on Jakub Lauko, that could’ve resulted in a matching holding call on Aaron Ekblad, but didn’t, 3:09 into the third to build a four-goal advantage. This time, Brandon Montour did the honors by hammering Tkachuk’s bump pass by Swayman from long-range with Johnny Beecher providing a helpful screen. First Star Barkov would pick up another helper on the power-play goal.

Boston finally started to push back and got on the board 1:52 later, with Jake DeBrusk leading the charge.

With Swayman off for an extra-attacker on a delayed penalty, DeBrusk took a pass from Beecher and found Lauko just inside the left circle and he made up for his earlier transgression by snapping off a shot that eluded Sergei Bobrovsky for his first career playoff goal.

A neutral zone collision caused by Ekman-Larsson falling backwards and taking out Eetu Luostarinen opened up a ton space for the rushing Bruins and after receiving a headman pass from David Pastrnak, Loheri set up DeBrusk, who beat Bobrovsky from the left circle at the 8:31.

Dimtry Kulikov would come up with a monster block on Pastrnak with the Panthers shorthanded and Bobrovsky dead to rights, and DeBrusk would find the plumbing late before Sam Reinhart smartly chipped the puck past Lohrei and caught up to it before firing it into the empty-net, assists courtesy of Tkachuk and Montour, with 1:24 remaining.

The special teams would click a final time with Rodrigues completing the scoring at 19:09 by one-timing Ekman-Larsson’s well-paced pass over Swayman’s glove from the left circle. Luostarinen would draw the secondary assist on Florida’s fourth PPG, which set a postseason franchise record.

The Panthers put on a stunning display of road hockey for the first forty-five minutes before wobbling for a bit in the third. Bobrovsky stepped up after allowing the Bruins a pair and the block by Kulikov was absolutely huge, keeping the home side two down with the clock firmly working in the Cats’ favor. Going back to Game 2, the Panthers ran off ten consecutive goals before Lauko found the back of the net. Florida regained home-ice advantage and has all the momentum heading into Game 4, outscoring Boston 12-3 over the last two tilts.

Tea & Honey

  • Sam Bennett returned to the lineup and quickly made his presence felt. A heavy first period check on Brad Marchand eventually sidelined the Bruins super-pest for good before the end of the second. Bennett had an assist and dished out a game-high eight hits in just 12:43 of ice time. Welcome back!
  • Matthew Tkachuk (three assists) produced his third three-point playoff game with the Panthers, tying him with Carter Verhaeghe for the most in franchise history. Tkachuk is third in the league in playoff scoring with 13 points.
  • Another gritty performance from Evan Rodrigues, who earned Second Star honors. Rodrigues opened and closed the scoring, registered four shots on goal and was credited with one hit. It was the second multi-goal playoff game of his career.
  • Jake DeBrusk is now second on the Bruins in scoring with eight points after coming up with a goal and an assist during Boston’s third period push.
  • After a horrific Game 1, Aaron Ekblad was rock-solid for a second straight outing. Ekblad finished with game-highs in shots (5, tied with Tkachuk) and blocks (4). He was also credited with three hits and posted a a plus-one rating while logging a team-high 23:19 TOI.