It took five games to get a real playoff-style game in this Boston Bruins/Florida Panthers series, but we finally got it.
The Cats came into Game 5 looking to keep their season alive, and things started well when they struck first in the opening period. It was the first time all series that Florida had scored in the first period and the second time it had scored first.
Scoring first had led to winning games in each of the series’ first four contests, but the Bruins didn’t let the Panthers pull away. On three different occasions, Boston was tasked with erasing a one-goal deficit and managed to do so successfully.
Brad Marchand scored his fourth goal of the series to tie the game at one, Patrice Bergeron scored in his first game of this series to tie it at two, and Taylor Hall scored his series-leading fifth goal to ultimately send the game to overtime.
The Bruins and Panthers will have to play a Game 6.
Boston outshot Florida badly in this game, ending the contest with a 47-25 advantage. However, the Panthers were opportunistic, and veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky played his best game of the series.
In overtime, it was a usual suspect that ended the game, but the goal did not come in a way that anyone would have expected.
Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark has been elite all season, but after stopping a puck behind his net, he sent it along the wall, right to where Carter Verhaeghe was standing. He found Matthew Tkachuk, who buried the puck to keep his team’s season alive.
This was a spirited game by both teams, and it was the first game that wasn’t decided by at least two goals. The team that scored first once again won the game, and Bobrovsky stepped up when his team needed him the most.
The B’s shouldn’t be too concerned about heading back to Florida, as their win at home in Game 1 is the only win by a home team so far in the series.
What is a little concerning for Boston is that the team couldn’t take advantage of Bergeron’s return. In addition, the Bruins dominated in the faceoff circle and scored two power play goals, yet the Panthers still found a way to win.
This game showed the impact that goaltending can have on a series. Can Bobrovsky repeat his Game 5 performance when these teams next meet in Sunrise?
The leading scorers in this one were Marchand and Charlie McAvoy (two points each) for Boston and Verhaeghe for Florida (three assists). Game 6 will take place on Friday night at 7:30 PM on TNT.