SUNRISE – The Panthers-Bruins series shifted to South Florida for Game 3 on Friday night.
After a 6-3 loss at home on Wednesday, Boston returned the favor tonight at FLA Live Arena, taking down Florida in a 4-2 win.
Here’s the takeaways.
Florida fell asleep in the second period
After a fairly even opening frame, The Panthers trailed by a goal entering the second period thanks to a Taylor Hall shot that cleanly beat Alex Lyon.
It was a one shot game going into the second frame – however the Panthers only got four.
Florida’s best scoring period of the regular season was the second. They found the back of the net 101 times in the middle frame.
The Panthers came out of the break flat. They couldn’t generate any momentum going forward while the Bruins controlled the tempo.
Boston doubled their lead in the period off of Charlie Coyle’s first goal of the playoffs.
Florida was lucky to only be down by two entering the third.
Alex Lyon’s night ends early – Sergei Bobrovsky makes 2023 playoff debut
Florida’s goaltender Alex Lyon didn’t have the best of starts to his night. Just 2:26 into the first, a quick shot by Taylor Hall beat Lyon up high, giving Boston an early lead on the road.
Lyon was able to shake off the early goal against and get back into a rhythm with multiple cross crease stops on the Bruins.
Florida’s offense was non-existent until the last five minutes of the game, while Boston kept piling on the chances. Lyon kept the came close for as long as he could, but after David Pastrnak beat him cleanly 8:32 into the third, Lyon’s night would come to an end.
“He’s played heavy pressure games and a lot of them,” Maurice said. “It was not a critique of Alex’s game (pulling him), it was if we are going to come back in this game it’s not because our goalie’s going to bail us out, it’s going to be because we are going to get a lot more action then we had, so what the hell.”
Paul Maurice switched to Sergei Bobrovsky, who started the majority of Florida’s games this season, but has not seen the ice this postseason.
Bobrovsky finished the game with a goal against and eight saves.
Florida still can’t score on the power play
In what is becoming a repeat of last season’s first round, Florida is three games into the playoffs without a power play goal.
Dating back to last season, Florida has scored just one power play goal in the playoffs, and have not scored a first round power play goal since 2021.
Florida went 0/2 tonight on the power play – pushing them to 0/7 in the series.
Sasha Barkov quiet offensively
The Panthers captain has been quiet this series, too quiet for the skill he has.
Entering Game 3 he had just one assist and one shot on goal.
Tonight it was much of the same story for him in the first 50 minutes of the game.
All of the Panthers lacked the drive that they showed Wednesday night in Boston for the majority of the game.
But it was clear that Barkov wasn’t making the impact you’d expect him to make.
Barkov didn’t get his shots towards the net until late in the game and he didn’t get on the score sheet until Florida’s last goal of the game with the goalie pulled.
“It’ll be a five man game always, find the right combinations,” Maurice said about getting Barkov going. “I’m not worried about how many shots he gets there. When you’re not generating offense you’re looking for those kinds of players. Coach has to find the right combination.”
Through the first three games, Barkov has two assists, four shots and is a -1.
Boston came out hard
It was no surprise to see the Bruins come out of the gates strong after their performance in Game 2.
After getting completely dominated by Florida in the third the previous game, the Bruins looked like the Presidents’ Trophy winners.
They scored all of their four goals tonight even strength while outshooting the Panthers 35-31.
Until the last five minutes of the third, which had Florida throw everything towards Linus Ullmark in a last ditch effort to get back in the game, Boston didn’t look phased all night.
The Bruins played well defensively in front of their goalie, had another outstanding night on the penalty kill and followed their defensive efforts with offensive results.
Boston was clearly the better team tonight. Florida needs to respond on Sunday — otherwise they will be facing a 3-1 series deficit at the TD Garden.