2 Bruins potential series X-factors against the Panthers were pivotal in a Game 1 win

Mason Lohrei and Justin Brazeau scored two pivolat goals in a Game 1 win over the Panthers.
May 6, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) moves the puck past
May 6, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei (6) moves the puck past / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one thing that you can expect from the second-round series between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers, it’s that 5-on-5 goals will be hard to come by. Both teams ranked in the Top 5 in the NHL during the regular season with 5-on-5 goals allowed. 

Of course in Game 1, the Bruins and Panthers combined for five goals (a sixth one was 6-on-5) at 5-on-5 in the 5-1 Boston victory. Even strength goals are going to take a lot of work to come by for both teams as the series goes along against two very goaltenders.

If there is one big takeaway from the Bruins’ Game 1 win, it’s that whoever emerges out of the series to advance to the Eastern Conference Final is going to get more depth scoring than the other. That was the case for Boston Monday night in South Florida. In fact, a big reason for the Black and Gold’s Game 1 win was because of the goals they received from two potential X-factors in the series.

Two Bruins potential series X-factors who helped them win Game 1

Scoring tends to go down in the playoffs as things get tighter and the game becomes at least a 60-minute grind. That’s why depth scoring can sometimes end up being the deciding factor and that was the case for Boston in Game 1.

After Matthew Tkachuk gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead, Morgan Geekie responded to tie the game just over a minute later. After the Bruins killed yet another too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the middle period, Mason Lohrei scored his first career playoff goal when he ripped a wrist shot over the should of Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for what turned out to be the game-winning goal

If there has been one player who has seen a big jump in his development from the beginning of the season, it’s Lohrei. Against the Maple Leafs, the former Ohio State defenseman proved that he belongs in the lineup and the moment is not too big for him. His ability to move the puck, create chances in the offensive end, and bounce right up from a hit have been very impressive.

Not to be outdone, Justin Brazeau has slowly cemented a spot in the Bruins' bottom-six as the playoffs have gone on. He brings a physical presence that they need on the forecheck and he’s not afraid to get in front of the net and create scoring chances for his teammates. Moments after Jim Montgomery called a timeout in the third period when Boston was being outshot 11-1 and badly outplayed, Brazeau got behind the Florida defense and scored his first career playoff goal on a breakaway for a 4-1 lead that was a back-breaking goal for the hosts.

If the Bruins are going to win this series and advance, they are going to need players like Lohrei and Brazeau to step up and provide offense, create scoring chances, and play the type of postseason hockey needed to pull an upset. So far for one game, two potential x-factors for Montgomery stepped up when they needed them to.