3 Takeaways From Bruins’ 6-2 Game 4 Win Over Panthers

Once again, the Boston Bruins played without Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena Sunday afternoon (April 23). For the second straight game, the Black and Gold were up for the challenge and put together a performance that has the Panthers frustrated and looking for answers.

2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Boston Bruins Florida Panthers
Boston Bruins Florida Panthers (The Hockey Writers)

Four third-period goals, two by Taylor Hall, gave the Bruins a 6-2 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead with Game 5 back in Boston Wednesday night (April 26). Here are three takeaways from Boston’s second win in 48 hours in Florida to put the Panthers on the brink of elimination.

Bruins Survive Panthers First Period Onslaught

Trailing 2-1 in the series, you knew the Bruins were going to get Florida’s best punch in the opening period and did they ever. The Panthers outshot the Bruins 10-0 through the first half of the period and at times, the Bruins were just looking to get pucks out of the zone or rely on Linus Ullmark to make a save.

Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins
Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His best save of the period came when he dove across his crease to stop Sam Reinhart alone at the side of the net by stopping the shot with his head. Eventually, the Bruins opened the scoring with a power play goal just past the midway point of the period. The fact that Boston went into the locker room up 1-0 through 20 minutes was surprising given the circumstances of the series and where things stood.

Bruins Play Strong Third Period

The last 10 minutes of the second period felt like the Bruins were holding on to get to the end of the period. Matthew Tkachuk scored when he was the benefit of a bad bounce behind the Boston net and stuffed it home to cut the deficit to 2-1, but it was bound to come with the way the Black and Gold were playing.

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In the third period, the Bruins flipped the script on Florida, who outscored them 4-1 in the third period on their way to a 6-3 win in Game 2, by outscoring them 4-1 and slowly taking control of the game for good. Tyler Bertuzzi tipped home a Brandon Carlo shot to make it 3-1 before Sam Bennett scored on the power play to make it a one-goal game again. Jake DeBrusk scored his second goal of the game when he knocked home a round of a Pavel Zacha shot and Hall sealed the victory by scoring on a breakaway for a 5-2 lead.

Hall finished the scoring with an empty-net goal with 28 seconds left, but you have to feel like the Bruins have pushed the Panthers to the edge. Florida outshot them 17-11 in the third, but seven of those came on one power play and at the end of the period when they made one last push. After losing Game 2 in Boston, the Bruins played a strong six periods and when push came to shove, they answered everything that Florida threw at them.

Bruins Win Special Teams Battle

Yes, the Bruins won by four goals, but the game was closer than that, and once again, special teams were a big factor in the game and the Black and Gold won that battle. After being soundly outplayed in the opening 10 minutes, the Bruins opened the scoring when Brad Marchand jammed home a loose puck in the crease on the power play for a 1-0 lead.

Brad Marchand Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the second period, the Bruins made Tkachuk pay for a cross-checking penalty at the end of the first period when DeBrusk redirected a Dmitry Orlov pass past Sergi Bobrovsky. On the other side, Boston’s top-ranked penalty kill from the regular season killed three of the four Panthers’ opportunities with Bennett’s third-period goal being the only one they connected on.

Quick Bruins’ Takeaways

  • Already banged up, the Bruins survived a pair of injury scares in Game 4. DeBrusk got hit in the head when Hall attempted a cross-ice pass entering the offensive zone in the first period, but he came back out to start the second period. At the end of the first period, Garnet Hathaway took a Tkachuk cross-check to the ribs and Tkachuk was given a minor penalty which led to DeBrusk’s second-period goal.
  • Speaking of Hall, he finished with two goals and two assists in the game and is looking like the player that he was in the first half of the season. His first goal of the third period was a pure hustle goal when he tipped the puck past a Florida defenseman and made a nice move to beat Bobrovsky.
  • A lot of the Bruins seemed to have had enough of Tkachuk and tempers boiled over late in the game. Tkachuk got into with Ullmark, which led to the two of them both spending the final 3:11 in the locker room. Jeremy Swayman had to finish the game for his teammate, but it may not have been a bad thing considering the amount of work Ullmark has had in the last week.
  • Ullmark, who was a game-time decision, finished the game with 41 saves, 15 in the third period. It was an impressive performance considering he was a game-time decision and all signs were pointing to Swayman, who made one save in the final 3:11, to start the game.

After losing Game 2, there were questions as to how the Bruins would respond going to an arena where they lost both regular season games. They responded with two work-man-like performances and now have taken control of the series and need one win over the course of three games to advance. The close-out game is always the hardest one to get and their first shot will be Wednesday night at the TD Garden.

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