Panthers take 3-1 series lead after Game 4 win in Boston

After scoring two unanswered goals to tie the game, Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had the game winner as Florida took down the Boston Bruins 3-2 at the TD Garden on Sunday night. 


The Panthers will take a 3-1 series lead back to Sunrise, with a chance to advance on Tuesday night after they took the Bruins down in both games 3 and 4 on the road. 


Entering Sunday’s matchup there was a lot of discourse ahead of the 6:30 p.m. puck drop in Boston. 


The big storyline entering Game 4 was not about the Bruins getting outscored 12-3 in the past two games, or being outshot 2-1 in each of those games, it was about the Sam Bennett hit on Brad Marchand. 


To be clear, the Bruins had a right to be upset regarding the hit — a new replay angle which was shown on TNT just 30 minutes before the game visibly showed Bennett catching Marchand with a fist to the face in the first period of Game 3.  


Marchand didn’t play in Game 4, but the reasoning behind his upper-body injury hasn’t been disclosed yet and there’s a possibility he could’ve picked that up on a play separate from Bennett, as the Bruins captain did stay in the game until the start of the third. 


The league didn’t think Bennett needed any supplemental discipline, so he was in the lineup for the Panthers.


With that being said, It should come to nobody’s surprise that the Bruins came out of the gates on Sunday with a mission.

Trailing the series on home ice, Boston needed to be the hungrier team and they were that at the start.


On the first shift of the game, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy steamrolled Sam Reinhart at open ice — getting the Boston faithful on their feet and buzzing just seconds into the game. 


The Bruins fed off the crowd and early physicality, scoring twice in the first period, off a power play goal from David Pastrnak and a point shot from Brandon Carlo. 


They went into the intermission up 2-0.


Florida was being outscored, but they weren’t being outplayed.


The Panthers led in the shots department 15-5 after the first period, but they weren’t able to get past Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman.


Despite trailing by multiple goals, the Panthers didn’t stray away from their game and they were finally rewarded when Anton Lundell scored his first goal of the playoffs with 5:12 remaining in the second. 


“The first goal was obviously huge for our team,” Lundell said. “We had some good chances early in the game but it’s hard to score in the playoffs. We just stuck with it, got some more chances and finally it went in.”


Down one entering the final period of regulation and holding a 28-16 shot advantage, you could feel the tying goal coming and it did — but not without some controversy. 


The biggest enemy in Boston entering Sunday was without a doubt Sam Bennett for his hit on Boston’s captain. 


So of course Bennett tied the game in an extremely controversial fashion. 


With the Panthers on the power play, Bennett tucked away a rebound on the doorstep of the Bruins crease — evening things up at 2-2 just 3:41 into the third. 


The replay showed that Bennett shoved Bruins forward Charlie Coyle into Jeremey Swayman before he put away his second goal of the postseason. 


Boston would challenge the play for goaltender interference and the consensus in the building was that the goal would come back — it didn’t.


To the Bruins surprise, they lost the challenge. 


The NHL’s situation room in Toronto deemed that there wasn’t goaltender interference and the goal would stand. 


Panthers coach Paul Maurice was asked postgame, “hand on the Bible, were you surprised that goal counted from Bennett?” 


“No,” Maurice responded in a not so enthusiastic tone. “I will have an opinion and it would be no, in that, it will have no impact on the play of the game… the contact between the two is not egregious at all.”


Carrying the momentum of two unanswered goals, the Panthers captain would put his team on his back once again — this time with a highlight reel goal.


With 12:30 to play in regulation, Aleksander Barkov tucked his shoulder and breezed past three Bruins defenders before roofing the puck over Swayman’s shoulder, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game.


“It’s incredible,” Sam Bennett said of Barkov’s game winner. “It’s so much fun to watch Barky play hockey. I think for anyone else that’s a career highlight goal and for him it’s just another day in the office. It’s pretty remarkable what he can do.”  


Barkov’s 13 playoff points (5 goals, 8 assists) is tied for the team lead with Matthew Tkachuk.


It was another tough night for the Bruins offense. They put just 18 shots on Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky — with only two total in the third period. 

Since Game 2, Boston has been outshot 107-50.


The Panthers are 2-0 at the TD Garden this series and have won their last five playoff games in Boston dating back to last season. 


Florida returns home with a 3-1 lead and can end the series on Tuesday night in Sunrise — which would get them back to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second consecutive season.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *