Bruins shows great resilience vs. Panthers in best win of the season

By | March 27, 2024

Bruins shows great resilience vs. Panthers in best win of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins were called out both on and off the ice by their head coach, Jim Montgomery, on Monday.

He wasn’t happy with the way they started practicing and paused the session to do a round of end-to-end springs. yelling at his team to “wake the f— up.” He met with the media for his post-practice press conference and candidly admitted that his team was not ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also noted that some players didn’t want to get first with pucks in the previous game – a tough loss to the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday.

It was Montgomery’s most critical performance for the Bruins in a public setting since he became head coach in June 2022.

All eyes were on the players heading into Tuesday night’s showdown against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise. How would they respond to their coach’s criticism? With first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference up for grabs, the Bruins needed to demonstrate toughness, resilience and the ability to win on the road against a title contender that plays the kind of tough hockey that troubles the Original Six club has delivered. recent playoff runs.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins got the job done and secured by far their best win of the season so far. The 4-3 win at Amerant Bank Arena had all the classic elements of a playoff atmosphere.

“I think the message from Monty was that we had to be prepared every day to play in practice, and the other day we weren’t, but the way we finished was the way we played tonight,” Bruins captain said Brad Marchand speaking to reporters after the game. per team.

“We played straight, and we played hard and competed all the time. That’s what we need going into the playoffs. I liked the reactions. I thought we had a good game tonight. There’s definitely some areas we need to continue.” to work on, but that’s a great team there. They compete very hard and are very deep, and they have no holes. A good character victory.’

One of the biggest takeaways from this game was the Bruins’ top players performing at an elite level. Depth is key, especially in the playoffs, but teams typically go as far as their stars take them in May and June.

Charlie McAvoy was the best player on the ice for most of the night. He recorded a team-high 25:12 of ice time with one goal, one assist, six hits and three shot blocks. It was the kind of all-round performance that has made him one of the five best defenders in the league.

McAvoy’s pass to David Pastrnak to make it 2-2 in the second period was fantastic. He saw Pastrnak all alone in front of the net and made a perfect feed.

McAvoy played most of his 5-on-5 ice time against the Panthers’ powerful line of Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk. Boston had a 4-1 advantage in shots on net and defeated Florida 2-0 in those minutes. Winning the game against Tkachuk’s line is the key to beating the Panthers.

Pastrnak also played great. He didn’t get an assist on Boston’s first goal, but his goal against Tkachuk was crucial in the build-up. His second-period goal was his 100th point of the season, making him just the fifth Bruins player ever to reach that milestone in consecutive years. He got his 101st point on Pavel Zacha’s game-winning goal late in the third period.

Marchand’s efforts should not go unnoticed either. His aggressive cross helped set up Pastrnak’s goal, and he earned the first assist on Trent Frederic’s score that tied the score at 3-3 in the third period. The Bruins captain also injected some much-needed energy into his team by challenging Panthers defenseman Niko Mikkola to a fight in the second period. Marchand wasn’t deterred by Mikkola’s 6-foot-4 frame.

A major issue for the Bruins this season is closing out games in the third period. The B’s own the sixth-worst winning percentage in the league (.769) when leading after two periods. Last season they had a goal differential of plus-54 in the third period, compared to just plus-11 this year.

Instead of folding late in the match, the Bruins showed plenty of fight and not only defeated the Panthers 2-1 in the final frame, but also held their ground defensively. Florida generated just three shots on net in the third period before goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled late. B’s netminder Jeremy Swayman made a pair of saves in the final two minutes as the Panthers held a 6-on-5 lead. Hampus Lindholm was one of several Bruins players who blocked a shot during that key stretch.

The Bruins suffered a lot of adversity in this game. They trailed 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. There were some soft penalties that went against them and a few non-calls that went against the Panthers. Florida tried to bully the B’s and overwhelm them with physicality. But the Bruins accepted that the game would be messy and took advantage of the opportunity time and time again.

They made winning plays late when it mattered most, and their best players led the charge. This is the kind of win that can boost a team, especially with the playoffs less than a month away. The Bruins desperately needed wins like this and it showed what this team is capable of when playing at a high level.

“I just liked the way our team continued to compete and we fought for each other,” Montgomery told reporters afterward. per team. “We were together in every fight, all five guys stayed together. That’s what we need.”

The challenge now is to deliver this kind of performance on a more consistent basis. And the schedule gives them another chance against a quality opponent on Wednesday night against the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning.

Leave a Reply

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