Recap: Bruins can’t contain red-hot Panthers, fall 4-1

Oct 27, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Anthony Duclair (10) scores a goal past Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Anthony Duclair (10) scores a goal past Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (48) during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Boston Bruins looked like a dominant, high-flying team for 20 minutes, completely outplaying an elite Florida Panthers squad.

And then, just like that, it completely vanished.

The Bruins fell 4-1 to the Panthers on Wednesday night, dropping to 3-2-0 on the season and losing to their first divisional opponent this season. With the win, the Panthers remain undefeated at 7-0-0 to start the year.

Boston received a goal from Charlie Coyle to open the scoring, but the Panthers rattled off four goals to seal the victory.

1st period

You could not have asked for a better start to this game.

The Bruins came out absolutely flying. They were firing shots from everyone on Sergei Bobrovsky, racking up puck possession time. They were even rewarded by the hockey gods with a lucky shot from Coyle that deflected off Owen Tippett and past Bobrovsky.

At the time of the goal, the Bruins were outshooting the Panthers 12-2. I don’t know what it is about this team, but they seem to always come to play in the first period.

Unfortunately, despite throughly outplaying the Panthers in the opening 20 minutes, the teams would go into intermission tied at 1-1 thanks to a goal from Mason Marchment.

I mean, you can’t let that happen. Yeah, you’d like Linus Ullmark to make that save. But they allow Sam Reinhart to win a battle where it’s 1v2 and then with the other three Bruins puck watching, they allow Marchment to enter the zone, find a space to receive a pass and rip it by Ullmark. Someone has to pick that guy up.

2nd period

This is where things turn ugly. Fast.

The Bruins you saw in the first? I don’t know if they decided to hit up South Beach or what, but it was not the Bruins that showed up in the second.

Just over two minutes in, Connor Clifton forgot about the whole “cover the guy in front” defensive strategy as Reinhart earned his second assist of the night, feeding an open Eetu Luostarinen for the tap-in.

Boston was honestly lucky the period ended 2-1. After recording 15 shots on net in the first period, the Bruins managed just two. Two whole shots. They were chasing the Panthers all period long and couldn’t buy any offensive zone pressure.

3rd period

I’ll give a little bit of credit, Boston came out better in the third. But just being better than that second period wasn’t good enough.

The Bruins couldn’t crack Bobrovsky and with just under nine minutes left, Anthony Duclair extended the Panthers’ lead to two with a slick goal.

That’s an insane amount of skill from Duclair. The speed, the shoulder fake, the patience to tuck in the puck around the pad. It’s a pretty goal.

However, Charlie McAvoy can’t be pinching up. I know, they’re down by one, but he’s got to know where Duclair is. That puck is way down in the offensive zone, but the Panthers have control. You can’t be going toward a puck that is coming up at you. He tries to knock it down on the boards, doesn’t get enough and Duclair is in all alone on Ullmark.

Tippett added an empty-netter and that was that. A 4-1 loss for the Bruins. Bobrovsky made 30 saves and really didn’t let a shot beat him. It took a lucky bounce to get one by him and that was it.

Notes

  • Let’s start with a positive. That first period. Besides just scoring one goal, was an exceptional period. The Bruins were buzzing around the Panthers. They came out exactly the way they needed to and while the scoreboard didn’t reflect it, it was a great start to this game
  • Part of the reason for that good start was Jack Studnicka. He was a man on a mission tonight. He looked motivated, out to prove he belongs up in Boston. Like the rest of the team, he fell off a bit after the first, but still great to see
  • Last good note from me – Matt Grzelcyk and his zone exits are a thing of beauty. I need to see a mixtape of just him juking by forecheckers and getting the puck out of the defensive zone
  • I don’t know the solution because I love Grzelcyk-McAvoy, but Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton doesn’t work. Simple as that. Two breakdowns led to two goals tonight from that pairing. We saw flashes of it against the Flyers and it was on full display tonight. The Bruins won’t win games against top teams (like the Panthers) with that pairing sticking together
  • This team needs to play a full 60 minutes. I know, it’s dumb and easy to say, but they do. I think they got away with slacking off a bit against the Sabres and the Sharks because they’re not great teams. You don’t get away with that against Florida and they won’t get away with that tomorrow against the Hurricanes. Boston needs to find consistency
  • David Pastrnak, please for the love of god, just dump the puck in. Just get it in deep. We know you have amazing hands, we saw you undress Mackenzie Weegar in the first. But that doesn’t mean it’ll work when you try again and again and again. This is the NHL, defensemen adapt and you’re not going to burn a guy twice
  • Is Bobrovsky back? Like Vezina winner, $10 million Bobrovsky back? Sure seems like it. He was unsolvable tonight, making big save after big save in the first and the third. The game really could have gotten out of hand for Florida in the first 20 if not for Bob. He’s had a sensational start to the year
  • Depth scoring. Pretty nice to have isn’t it. And that’s exactly part of what makes Florida successful
  • Joel Quenneville shouldn’t have been coaching. I have a piece coming out later to discuss the details, but it’s disgraceful that he was on the bench. Shame on the NHL and shame on the Panthers

Lazar injury could have been worse. dark. Next

The Bruins are back tomorrow in another matchup with yet another undefeated team. The Carolina Hurricanes are 5-0-0 to start the season and like the Panthers, feature a high-flying offense, suffocating defense and elite goaltending. Boston will have to rebound quickly, otherwise they’ll be heading back to Massachusetts with a .500 record.