Your Boston Bruins welcomed the Florida Panthers to the TD Garden tonight. This was the 3rd matchup of the year between the two clubs, with the home team each winning previously. At the end of an uneven game, the home team got it done again as the B’s prevailed 7-3 keeping their point streak at home intact.
The Bruins opened up the first period in snooze mode as they only had 2 SOG through the first 10min of game time. Luckily for the hometown team, most of the shots after that started getting past Spencer Knight as the Bruins built up a 3 goal lead in the first over the hapless Panthers. We got a lot of highlights from this one, so let’s get into it.
First up was Connor Clifton who potted his own rebound as he dropped down the RW wall into the FLA zone. Talk about following your shot to the net; Cliffy is going to be looking for some PP time after this shift. I’ve always liked Clifton’s game and it’s good to see him have the confidence to drive the net after picking up the loose puck in the neutral zone.
Next up was Brandon Carlo who got his first of the year (the last player to get his cookie this season). Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron worked a give and go through the neutral zone as Carlo jumped into the rush as the 3rd man high. Once they broke into the FLA zone, Marchand found Carlo in the slot where his beat Knight under the glove to put the B’s up by a pair.
With less than 4mins to play in the opening stanza, it was Charlie Coyle‘s turn. Carlo sizzled one across the FLA blue line to Trent Frederic who corralled the puck at the top of the LW. Freddy then found Coyle cross-ice at the top of the RW circle and Coyle’s wrister leaked under Knight’s right arm to extend the lead. For those of you who still doubt it, the B’s have the best 3rd line in the NHL. We talk about it during the Bruins segment on our most recent podcast.
Early in the 2nd period, Gustav Forsling airmailed a puck over the glass and the B’s were back on the power play. And this time, they cashed in. Marchand controlled the puck in the RW corner and found Bergy in the slot for a one-timer (I mean it’s a power play, it’s mandated that they find Bergeron in the slot for a one-timer at least once per power play). Knight (shockingly) made the save and the rebound popped right to David Pastrnak at the bottom of the LW circle and he beat Knight in the same spot as Coyle’s goal. What doesn’t show up on this clip is that Pasta took the initial shot that Marchand corralled in the corner. After he took the shot, Pasta drifted down the wing and found a soft spot and was in perfect position for a rebound. 4-0 good guys.
And then….. the Bruins took their foot off the gas and started “playing the lead” as Brick called it on the NESN feed. First Sam Reinhart tucked a rebound past Linus Ullmark from the top of the crease. Then Eric Staal put a one-timer near side that Ullmark just missed getting across for, and finally it was Carter Verhaege in another goalmouth scramble that beat Ullmark 5-hole. Was that a between the legs goal?? All of a sudden it’s 4-3 and we’re not even halfway through the 2nd period. What … the … actual … fuck??
All of the momentum had swung to FLA. The Bruins ran up a 4-spot and then started dreaming of a few days off to get their Christmas shopping done. The Panthers were feeling it and could the B’s be losing their home ice swagger? BAH GAWD THAT’S DAVID KREJCI‘S MUSIC!!! Hampus Lindholm drove the FLA zone and dished to Krejci on the RW as he drove the net. Krejci floated one perfectly to Lindholm for the re-direct on net, but it clanged off the post. As Knight scrambled to locate the puck, Krejci kept his eye on the prize and potted it past Knight. The Black and Gold were back up by a pair.
That score held into the 3rd as both teams were more responsible with the puck and had good transitions. Just about midway through the period, the Bruins broke it open with a snipe from Bergeron. Clifton sent Bergy away into the FLA zone with a great outlet and The Captain beat Knight with a wrister off his back foot far side.
Bergeron was back on the scoresheet 4mins later on the PP when he put a backhand over Knight’s glove to hang the lucky 7 on the Cats. Lindholm put the puck on net and then Bergy tucked in the loose change.
A couple of random things:
- Tonight’s game was part of the Dad’s trip for the Florida Panthers. I wonder if HC Paul Maurice just had the Dad’s walk through the room after the first period. No one wants to disappoint their Dad.
- Linus Ullmark is your Vezina Trophy front-runner. For those of you bashing him for tonight’s goals, give your head a shake (shout out @jenkinsa81). He’s lights out and you should be asking yourself why the Panthers were standing on the blue paint uncontested? (Although I’d bet he’d want Staal’s goal back).
- Speaking of the netminders: do yourself a favor and look up their setups for the Winter Classic. So clean and retro, they absolutely nailed them both.
- I’m not complaining, but why in the world did Paul Maurice leave Spencer Knight in there for the entire game? I thought for sure he was not coming out to start the 2nd period.
- Glad to see Matt Grzelcyk was ok after a dangerous looking spill into the BOS net at the end of the first period. Could have been ugly, and of course no call on the play.
- Craig Smith was waived by the Bruins today, cleared waivers and started the game on the 4th line at RW. Smith looks to be a victim of a combination of things. He’s had some trouble adapting to HC Jim Montgomery’s system and was fighting injuries to start the year. Smith is also welcoming a baby in the near future (congrats!) and that’s not always easy at home. Be it in Providence or somewhere else in the NHL: Smith brings full effort every shift, is very popular with his teammates and is an effective NHL player. Wherever he ends up, I’m thankful for his time with the Bruins and wish him all the best.
- Last up, love to see The Huggy Bears in action.
You can read more about Brownie down below or follow him on Twitter @Abrow28