After what was a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Florida Panthers have forced a pivotal Game 7. Florida stunned the Bruins at home in Game 5, and capped it off with a back and forth battle on home ice. What an eventful game it was in Florida as the Panthers won 7-5. The Cats Nine lives prevail and they fight off elimination twice. Matthew Tkachuk said after Game 5 they’d be back in that locker room for Game 7. Here is how they got there and the Boston Bruins takeaways from this series game.
Boston Bruins Takeaways In Game 6
Lineup Changes Blow Back
Sometimes it is a good problem to have when you have good depth. However, that can complicate things. One area of depth is on the blueline. The big change in this game was plugging in Connor Clifton for Matt Grzelcyk. On the surface it makes sense. Physical hockey is suited better for a guy like Clifton, but Grzelcyk and his transition game is suited better for a back and forth tilt such as tonight. To make matters worse, Clifton was not very good tonight.
Turnovers have plagued the Bruins all series. In addition, the Panthers have made them pay all series long. Clifton had a brutal giveaway in the first period that led to the Matthew Tkachuk goal. As a pair, Clifton and Derek Forbort were not good. At 5v5, Florida had their way with the pair. They had 35 shot attempts opposed to 20 against. Clifton had a measly 25.80 xGoals percentage. Not only did he generate no offense, he got caved in in his own end of the ice. Florida had their way with Clifton in the high danger area. The team generated six high danger chances with him on the ice. This was a move that was proven to backfire tonight and you have to think Matt Grzelcyk slides back in for Game 7.
Ullmark Is Human Afterall
Entering this series, two of the best offensive teams were facing off against each other. Those offenses showed why they were some of the best all season long. In this game it was back and forth with goaltending not being the star of the show. A 3-2 lead entering the third for Florida turned into a seven goal third period. Florida would prevail, but this was another uncharacteristic performance by Linus Ullmark.
Sergei Bobrovsky was just as bad, but this was a bad performance by Ullmark. He has become more aggressive like Tim Thomas used to be. He finds himself out of position, and his rebound control is off. Tonight Ullmark stopped 26 of 32 shots on goal. In addition, he wound finish with a .813 save percentage and a .667 high danger save percentage. The worst part about his night is he finished with -2.28 goals saved above expected. It was not his best outting by any means and raises questions on if Jeremy Swayman sees the crease for Game 7.
There is no telling if Ullmark is battling injury or came down with the illness prior to Game 1, but he has proven to be human after all.
Matthew Tkachuk Is A Problem
What more can you say about this guy? Matthew Tkachuk who could very well take the Hart Trophy, had made life hard for the Boston Bruins. As his team faced elimination, he made his presence felt.
Tkachuk dominated tonight’s game for the Panthers as he has done all series long. He led the club with 1.413 expected goals. In addition, Tkachuk scored two of his own while also having an assist. He had eight shot attempts, while having four get on net. In addition, he made life difficult in front of the net. With him on the ice, the high danger chances were 5-0.
Tkachuk has been the teams MVP all season long and in this series. He is now up to 10 points in six games. Game 7 is Sunday Night in Boston.