The Boston Bruins did not think that they’d be in this position, but they are bracing for Game 7 against the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Boston won the first game of the series and then the first two contests in Florida, but they are 0-2 in their quest to eliminate the Panthers. Now, in a win-or-go-home game, they’ll either figure out how to close this series out, or they’ll be going home themselves.
As the Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Bruins should absolutely be favored to win. Of course, this game will be on their home ice, which should also help. Here are three reasons that Boston will win Game 7 and advance to the second round.
What will it take for the Bruins to advance?
The Bruins penalty kill has not been great in this series, but it has easily been better than that of the Panthers. That’s because Boston’s power play is among the best in this year’s first round.
Clicking at 39.1%, the B’s have been nearly unstoppable with the man advantage. In Game 6, they went 3-for-4 on the power play, and that wasn’t enough to win, but if they do that again, there is no way they’ll lose again.
Even in losing efforts, the power play goals are what have kept the Bruins in striking distance. If they can once again make the Panthers pay for taking penalties, it will pay off, and they will win Game 7.
Linus Ullmark has not been great in this series. Overall, he owns a 3.33 goals against average (GAA) and an .896 save percentage. With that said, we can’t forget that in the regular season he had a 1.89 GAA and a .938 save percentage.
In the three games that the Bruins have won in round one, Ullmark’s save percentage has been .935 or better. That tells me that when he takes over, which he has been more than capable of doing, the Bruins win.
Plus, even if he doesn’t take over, he has been better than Sergei Bobrovsky in this series. Boston should have the advantage in net in Game 7 no matter what.
While the Panthers have been carried by Matthew Tkachuk, the Bruins have gotten contributions from several players.
Brad Marchand leads the way with 10 points, which is one of the best totals among all skaters in round one. Tyler Bertuzzi has chipped in nine points in his first postseason, and Taylor Hall has eight points, including a team-leading five goals.
Being able to get goals from anywhere in the lineup is important, and if either team is going to get that in Game 7, it will be the Bruins.
Game 7 between the Bruins and Panthers will be Sunday, April 30 at 6:30 PM on TNT. The winner will advance to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.