Bruins extend series vs. Panthers with 2-1 win in Game 5

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald on

Published in Hockey

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins still have a long way to go if they are to become the first Black-and-Gold team to come back from a 3-1 series deficit.

But step one was completed on Tuesday night at Amerant Bank Arena with a heart-stopping 2-1 win in Game 5 to send the series back to Boston for Friday’s Game 6.

The B’s got a disputed goal of their own in the second period from Charlie McAvoy and then the B’s survived their record-tying sixth too-many-men penalty. Facing over three minutes of 6-on-5 time, the B’s managed to kill the clock, with goalie Jeremy Swayman making a huge stop on Sam Reinhart in the waning seconds.

The B’s never trailed.

The Bruins had been outshot 107-50 in Games 2-4 and for Game 5, they decided to abandon their quality-over-quantity approach to shot selection.

They outshot the Panthers, 13-4, in the first period — it was the lowest shot total in a period for Florida in the playoffs — and took a 1-0 lead on a play in which they simply got the puck toward the net. McAvoy threw the puck behind the Florida net and Jake DeBrusk beat Oliver Ekman-Larsson to it on the left side, came out on the other side of the net and fed Morgan Geekie out front. Geekie took the puck to his backhand and lifted it over Sergei Bobrovsky’s outstretched stick for a 1-0 lead at 4:49.

The Panthers had come into Game 5 with a 21-9 advantage in power plays and that was mostly because of their territorial dominance. But the B’s had been the ones dominating possession early in this one. Charlie Coyle took the first penalty of the game on a phantom hooking penalty. But the B’s were able to kill it off without much trouble. There was also a 4-on-4 that didn’t produce much.

When the B’s got their first power play after Carter Verhaeghe gloved the puck early in the second period, they did nothing with the opportunity as the Panthers were continually able to clear the zone and prevent the B’s from setting anything up.


That kill gave the Panthers their first semblance of momentum and, coming out of the first TV timeout, they tied the game at 6:23 after Florida coach Paul Maurice tore into his team.

Swayman could not handle a long distance shot with his glove and the Panthers maintained possession. Eventually, Reinhart popped home a loose puck from the slot at 6:23.

But the B’s regained the lead at 10:25 on — you guessed it — a controversial goal interference non-call. McAvoy finished off a pretty rush play, taking a feed from Coyle and burying a wrister upstairs.

Maurice challenged for goalie interference. With Danton Heinen in front, Bobrovsky lost his stick and there was also some contact between Bobrovsky’s and Heinen’s skates. But after a lengthy review, the goal was allowed to stand. According to the ESPN broadcast, it was because Bobrovsky was able to reset.

The B’s, however, did nothing with the ensuing power play. In fact, at the end of the power play, Mason Lohrei hauled down Eetu Luostarinen, putting the Panthers on the advantage.

But Florida could not capitalize and, at the end of it, the Panthers needed not one but two brilliant saves from Bobrovsky. DeBrusk created a short-handed breakaway for himself and the netminder not only stoned him, but he somehow stopped Trent Frederic on the follow-up, keeping it a one-goal game going into the third.

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