For the third straight game, the Boston Bruins played without their captain Patrice Bergeron in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Florida Panthers. To compound matters, after the pregame skate, the Bruins announced that David Krejci was scratched with an upper-body injury. Playing without Bergeron is tough enough, but they also had to do it without Krejci. After their struggles at the faceoff dot in Game 2, it was a less-than-ideal situation for Jim Montgomery’s team.
No Bergeron, no Krejci, no problem at FLA Live Arena.
Forty-eight hours after giving up home-ice advantage, the Bruins put together their best 60 minutes of the series minus their top two centers with an impressive 4-2 road victory. Here are three takeaways as the Black and Gold took a 2-1 series lead without two of their veterans.
Linus Ullmark Responds After Being a Game Time Decision
At the morning skate, Jeremy Swayman and Brandon Bussi were the two goalies and Montgomery said that Linus Ullmark was going to be a game-time decision. Ullmark led the Bruins out for the pregame skate and got the start and proved again that goaltending was the least of the problems in the first two games.
He made 28 saves, including 16 in the third period alone. He gave up two third-period goals with the Bruins holding a 4-0 lead. The first goal was scored by Gustav Forsling shorthanded, then Sam Reinhart knocked home a loose puck two minutes later, but that was all that Ullmark allowed. At the end of the second period, it looked like he was in some discomfort heading to the locker room, but he shook it off and turned in a big final 20 minutes to help his team take a series lead.
Bruins Put Together Best Period of Series In the Second Period
In the first six periods of the series in Boston, the Bruins had flashes during some of the periods of playing their game, but the second period in Game 2 was their best 20-minute effort of the series, hands down. Leading 1-0, they doubled their lead when Charlie Coyle redirected a Brad Marchand shot past Alex Lyon.
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More than the goal, it was the play in all three zones that looked like the regular season Bruins. Their layers were as good as they had been in the regular season, they were getting in the passing lanes, limiting the clean zone entries, and successfully killing a Brandon Carlo penalty. They held Florida to just four shots on Ullmark and set the tone for the third period.
Charlie Coyle & Dmitry Orlov Play Strong Games
With no Bergeron or Krejci, Coyle got the call to center the first line and he turned in another impressive performance in the series. He struggled at the faceoff dot, however, his goal in the second period gave them much-needed breathing room, and he finished with five shots on the net. It was also his work inside the offensive zone, on the forecheck, his physical presence in all three zones, and his net-front presence that was key.
Dmitry Orlov registered an assist in the first two games in Boston, but he had two in Game 3 and both were off of stretch passes from the defensive zone. Just 2:26 into the game, he made a stretch pass to Taylor Hall who went 1on-3 into the Florida zone, and his wrist shot eluded Lyon for an early 1-0 lead. In the third period, Tyler Bertuzzi won a battle in the corner and made a pass falling down to Orlov who sprung David Pastrnak behind the Panthers’ defense for his second goal of the series and a 3-0 lead. Orlov played just under 22 minutes in the game, but his long stretch passes turned out to be the difference in setting up a pair of goals for the Black and Gold.
Quick Bruins’ Takeaways
- Nick Foligno was a last-minute addition to the lineup for Krejci and of course, he scores a goal. He connected in the third period when he took a pass from Hall in front of the net, and made a move around Sergei Bobrovsky for a 4-0 lead. Foligno finished with four shots on the net in just 13:37 of time on ice.
- Matt Grzelcyk replaced Connor Clifton in the lineup for Game 2 and despite playing under 13 minutes, his presence in the defensive end helped with clearing pucks and having better zone exits.
- The Bruins went a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, killing one penalty each in the first and second periods. On the flip side, the power play went 0-for-4 and gave up a shorthanded goal. It’s less than ideal, but sooner or later, the man advantage needs to connect in this series.
- Charlie McAvoy played his best game of the series, logging a game-high 25:21 in time on the ice with eight hits. He set the tone off the opening faceoff with a big hit at the defensive blueline and drew a penalty in the third period with a clean check at center ice on Anton Lundell, which drew an Aleksander Barkov penalty when he stuck up for Lundell.
It took three games, but the Bruins put together a full 60-minute effort at the right time on the road after losing home-ice advantage. Krejci’s status for Game 4 is up in the air and they know that Bergeron will remain out of the lineup until at least Game 5 as he is still in Boston after not flying to South Florida, but the Black and Gold improve to 6-1-0 this season without their captain, thanks in large part to their depth that was on display in Game 3.