Entering Game 2 of their 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series, the Boston Bruins had the momentum, but the Florida Panthers had an opportunity to build off of a not-so-bad first game.
Well, the Panthers most definitely snatched the momentum, but the fashion in which they did so is what should grab people’s attention. I for one did not think that Florida would win a game in this series, much less win one by three goals as they did in Game 2.
The second installment of this series started as the first one did, as the Cats took an early penalty. A second penalty was taken later in the period, but this time, the B’s were unable to cash in on the early opportunities. As a result, the game was scoreless after the first period.
The Panthers could not have asked for more in Game 2.
Sam Bennett opened the scoring in period two to give the Panthers their first lead of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A series of back-and-forth goals saw the Bruins tie the game, fall behind by a goal again, and tie the game once more.
However, when Brandon Montour scored 22 seconds into the third period to give Florida its third one-goal lead, the Bruins would not rebound to get the score knotted up. The Panthers extended their lead to two goals, then three, and eventually four en route to a convincing Game 2 victory.
Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark conceded five goals in this game, which matched the most that he gave up in any one regular season game this year. Additionally, this game was only the fifth game this season that the B’s lost in regulations on home ice. It was a very un-Bruins-like game.
Also uncharacteristically, the Bruins were -3 in the third period, a frame in which they were the best in the NHL during the regular season. They were sloppy with the puck throughout the contest, too, which the league’s top defense was not this season.
I said after Game 1 that the Bruins just didn’t look like their dominant selves, and that was even more apparent in this game. Maybe they’re just gripping their sticks a little too tightly as the Presidents’ Trophy winners, but Jim Montgomery’s team needs to get things figured out.
Credit must be given to the Panthers, though, as there was much more to this game than the B’s not playing well. Matthew Tkachuk recorded two assists to help facilitate the offense, while Montour became the first defenseman in team history with two goals in a postseason contest.
It’s also worth noting that the end of this game became extremely nasty, with several ejections, a fight, and constant chirping between the benches. We know that the Bruins can play that style, but as the underdog, the nastiness probably benefits the Panthers.
There’s no doubt that the momentum is now in Florida’s favor. The Bruins have certainly not played their best hockey to this point, so we’ll see if Game 2 was a wake-up call for the Stanley Cup favorites.
The series will now shift to FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. Game 3 is set for 7:30 PM on Friday, April 21 and can be seen on TNT.