(Photo Credit:  ALIE SKOWRONSKI/Miami Herald)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers on the road 4-3 Tuesday night in a game with a playoff-type feel. Head coach Jim Montgomery was displeased with his team at practice on Monday and made them skate to send a message. Well, the message was received as the Bruins stuck to their game, and we were able to pull out a victory. 

Florida took every opportunity to get under the Bruins’ skin. But Boston shook it off and stayed focused on the task at hand. After a late comeback, the Black and Gold were able to preserve their lead and pick up two huge points in Sunrise. 

First Period

Florida got on the board just 0:27 into the hockey game when Evan Rodrigues tapped home a loose puck on a net-mouth scramble to make it 1-0. Shortly after that, a small scrum between Parker Wotherspoon and Sam Bennett occurred, which resulted in both getting roughing penalties. However, Wotherspoon received an extra 2:00, giving the Panthers the game’s first power play. The man-advantage opportunity was uneventful, as the Bruins easily killed it off. Jeremy Swayman had a difficult time handling the puck as a couple of miscues led to dangerous chances for Florida, but neither one ended up being costly.

Boston finally had their first scoring chance more than halfway into the opening frame on a creative lob pass by David Pastrnak to John Beecher. The pass led to a brief breakaway, but Sergei Bobrovsky made a left pad save to preserve his team’s lead. Justin Brazeau also had a short breakaway, and his opportunity ended in a shot that went over the net.

With 6:01 remaining, the Bruins received their first power play of the night, but it was an inconsistent 2:00, and it went by the boards. But, Charlie McAvoy ended his ten-game pointless stretch with a cannon of a slapshot past the glove side of Bobrovsky to even the score 1-1. Unfortunately for the Bruins, the Panthers retook the lead 1:13 later on a Sam Reinhart redirection past Swayman to make it 2-1. Boston had the edge in shots on goal 11-8.

Second Period

The first good chance of the second came off an Andrew Peeke shot that bounced against the boards and gave Danton Heinen a chance to bat it into an open goal, but he failed to get enough on it. After a post-whistle scrum in front of the Boston goal, Hampus Lindholm and Sam Bennett engaged in a quick scrap and earned 5:00 each for fighting.

Chippy play continued, and The Bruins found themselves on the short end of the stick after Beecher was called for a seemingly phantom slashing minor. With 0:37 left on the Beecher penalty, Matthew Tkachuk committed a high sticking foul, resulting in a brief four-on-four situation. Once again, the Bruins failed to convert on the man advantage and didn’t generate much. Brad Marchand tried to get his team going after he dropped the gloves with 6’5 Nico Mikkola and gave up a significant height advantage.

The officials didn’t record fighting majors, and both received double minors. The Bruins were able to swing some momentum and tie the game 2-2. McAvoy found Pastrnak with a smooth pass down low, and he finished it off to collect his 100th point of the season. That would be the score heading into the second intermission, with Florida leading in shots 8-4.

Third Period

Not much action took place early on in the period other than some accumulated attacking zone time for Florida. The Bruins responded with that of the same at the other end, but neither team could capitalize. Pastrnak had a quality chance on Bobrovsky down the right wing, but the Panthers goaltender got his arm in the way. Carter Verhaeghe put his team ahead 3-2 when he scored through a screen off the rush, which limited Swayaman’s vision.

The Black and Gold were given a huge opportunity to respond by receiving a power play, but it was short-lived. An interference minor on Marchand canceled it out, creating another four-on-four situation. The Panthers were shut down during their brief power play time and then found guilty of delay of game after Rodrigues shot the puck out of play in the defensive zone.

Boston cashed in and tied the game when Marchand set up Trent Frederic, who rifled the puck past Bobrovsky to even the game 3-3. Then, 2:01 after knotting the game, they took a late 4-3 lead when Pavel Zacha was Johnny on the spot and slammed the puck home in front on a nifty Pastrnak centering pass. Boston was able to protect their net well enough in the final 2:00 and closed out a gutsy third-period comeback.

Up Next

Next, the Bruins will play in the second half of a back-to-back against another division foe, the Tampa Bay Lightning, at Amalie Arena on Wednesday night. It will mark the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Bruins lost the first game 5-4 in overtime, won the second 7-3, and lost the third 3-2 in a shootout. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.