Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Oct 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Pavel Zacha (18) celebrates with forward Danton Heinen (43) after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Revenge was never an option for the Bruins in Monday’s showdown with the Panthers at TD Garden.

The Panthers ruined a dream season for the Bruins six months ago, and there was no changing that.

The Bruins admitted that it made the early-season showdown between the teams feel like something bigger than their ninth game of the season, sure, but no matter what happened in this contest, it wasn’t going to undo what happened back in April.

But that didn’t mean that it wasn’t a game that the Bruins could take something from as they continue to build their foundation for the 2023-24 campaign.

In an 0-2 hole through 20 minutes, and playing with five and then four defensemen when the club lost Matt Grzelcyk to injury and then Charlie McAvoy to a match penalty, the Bruins had to dig deep in this one.

And they did exactly that en route to their best win of the season to date by way of a 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers.

“It was a big character win, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery admitted following the victory. “We lose Grizzy halfway through the first, we’re down to five D and then you got the five-minute major you got to kill off and now you’re down on four D and, you know, just tremendous character by our four defenseman that gutted it out and also just our team coming back from two nothing against a real good team and being able to come away and find a way to win.”

  • Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars of a comeback win in Boston…

  • No. 3 Star: Sam Reinhart

    Oct 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

  • There’s something about forward Sam Reinhart’s move from Buffalo to Florida that has turned this dude into one of the game’s top Bruins killers. And that remained the case Monday night at TD Garden, as Reinhart factored in on both of the Panthers’ goals in this contest with a goal and an assist in the losing effort.

    And sure, Reinhart has been good against everybody out of the gate this season, as he’s now up to eight goals and 11 points through eight games. But as a Panther, and including last year’s playoff showdown, Reinhart is up to nine goals and 15 points in 15 head-to-heads with the B’s since 2021-22.

  • No. 2 Star: Pavel Zacha

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 30: Pavel Zacha #18 is surrounded by Jake DeBrusk #74, Danton Heinen #43, and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins after scoring the game winning goal during overtime against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on October 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Panthers 3-2. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 30: Pavel Zacha #18 is surrounded by Jake DeBrusk #74, Danton Heinen #43, and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins after scoring the game winning goal during overtime against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on October 30, 2023. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Speaking after last Saturday’s win over the Red Wings, Bruins superstar David Pastrnak was talking about his chemistry with Pavel Zacha and mentioned that he wanted to see Zacha shoot the puck more because he has a ‘bomb’ of a shot. And Zacha didn’t want long to follow through on Pastrnak’s request, as it turns out.

    In addition to the overtime winner, Zacha also came through with an assist on Charlie McAvoy’s game-tying tally in the third period, and finished with four shots on goal, as well as two hits in a season-high 21:10 of time on ice. The Bruins also moved Zacha from center to wing in the second period to put Matt Poitras between he and Pastrnak for what felt like a first-line load-up in terms of skill and puck abilities.

    Zacha has now recorded three goals and five points in his last four outings.

  • No. 1 Star: Linus Ullmark

    Oct 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in goal during the second period against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 3, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in goal during the second period against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Even with the Bruins in a two-goal deficit through 20 minutes of play, things could’ve been a lot worse for the club, all things considered. The only reason it wasn’t? Linus Ullmark.

    Tagged for 16 shots in the opening 20 minutes of play, and with the Bruins outright giving the puck to the Panthers at a ridiculous rate, Ullmark limited the damage to just two. The Bruins gave Ullmark a breather with a second-period blitz at the other end, but in the third period, Ullmark had to be nails once again, and he was.

    The face of Boston’s five-minute kill following Charlie McAvoy’s match penalty for an illegal check to the head, Ullmark kept the Bruins and Panthers knotted up at 2-2, and his best save over that five-minute sequence came with a huge right pad stop on a Sam Reinhart second-chance look at the Boston doorstep.

    Ullmark finished this context with 35 saves, and improved to 4-0-1 out of the gate this season, while his season save percentage went up from .937 to .939 with Monday’s 35-of-37 performance.

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