Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Apr 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) reacts in front of Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) after a goal by Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) (not pictured) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

In the event that the first three head-to-heads did not tell you as much, Saturday afternoon at TD Garden confirmed that the Bruins and Panthers are still the bitterest of enemies.

The pure, unfiltered hatred between these two teams has been palpable in every showdown this season. Saturday brought about more of the same between these teams, and Jim Montgomery outright admitted after this game that this felt like two teams officially ready for the playoffs to begin. But even with the intensity amped up to another level, the end result was the same as it’s been in the first three meetings of the season, as the Bruins pulled out yet another win over the Panthers and swept the season series.

And in a star-studded rivalry, the hero of the day came from the bottom of the Boston roster, with Jesper Boqvist on the board with the game-winning overtime marker in a 3-2 final at TD Garden.

  • The B’s afternoon got off to the worst start imaginable, all things considered, as the Panthers scored on their first shot of the contest, and with a major assist to the TD Garden glass.

    On what seemed like a harmless dump-in by the Panthers’ Vladimir Tarasenko, the puck took an absurd bounce off the glass, and bounced right to Matthew Tkachuk as he came barreling down the slot for as good a look as someone is going to get at the NHL level. And Tkachuk did not miss.

    Tkachuk’s strike, which was good for his 25th marker of the season, was scored just 37 seconds into the contest, and could’ve been a (bad) sign of things to come for the Bruins.



  • But the Bruins were quick to respond to Tkachuk’s strike with one of their own, scored by Charlie McAvoy after a strong offensive-zone activation from McAvoy, and tallied just 5:05 after the Tkachuk goal.

    McAvoy’s goal, which came with assists to Danton Heinen and Pavel Zacha, was McAvoy’s 11th of the campaign, giving him a new single-season career-high after putting up 10 during the 2021-22 season.

    The McAvoy goal was Boston’s lone of the period, though it was not for a lack of trying, as the Bruins were granted three trips to the power play in the opening 20 minutes of action.

  • Tied at 1-1 through 20 minutes of play, the nastiness of this rivalry continued to intensify in the middle frame.

    After a dangerous trip, Florida defenseman Brandon Montour seemed more than willing to drop the gloves with the Bruins’ David Pastrnak, but when James van Riemsdyk came calling in Pastrnak’s place and tried to get Montour to drop the gloves, Montour suddenly lost his appetite for a fight.

    Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 on Twitter: "Chippiness between Brandon Montour & David Pastrnak#Panthers 1 #Bruins 1 2nd / Twitter"

    Chippiness between Brandon Montour & David Pastrnak#Panthers 1 #Bruins 1 2nd

    At the other end, Parker Wotherspoon decided to return the favor on Florida’s top superstar with a hit-and-headlock combo on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov. From there, the Panthers tried to make Wotherspoon a marked man, with their retribution attempts headlined by Tkachuk’s interference (it was infinitely more of a board than an interference) that plastered Wotherspoon face first into the boards.

  • With Tkachuk in the box, the Bruins went back to work on the power play, and found their opening.

    Beginning with a clean offensive-zone entry from Pastrnak, the puck was dished to Brad Marchand, who made the Florida penalty kill’s collective knees buckle en route to a pass to Charlie Coyle for the go-ahead goal on Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, scored at the 15:45 mark of the second period.

  • Clinging to a one-goal lead through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins found themselves back in a tied affair early in the third period, as a four-on-four sequence that saw the Bruins swimming a bit too much in their own end came to a conclusion behind a game-tying goal from Barkov at the 5:24 mark.

    And from there, this game went into overdrive from a madness standpoint.

    As Bobrovsky and Ullmark traded saves, the Bruins and Panthers pressed on with high-quality looks. Florida’s best came on a three-on-two chance for Evan Rodrigues that was turned away by Ullmark’s glove. Bobrovsky, meanwhile, completely sold out for a beautiful left leg save on Brad Marchand with under a minute remaining in regulation. Bobrovsky also had solid support from his skaters, who denied Morgan Geekie a prime net-front putaway chance.

  • Apr 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center John Beecher (19) and Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg (94) grab each others jerseys during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 6, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center John Beecher (19) and Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg (94) grab each others jerseys during the first period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    With Justin Brazeau still out and Pat Maroon not yet available, the Bruins stuck with the same lines and 12 forwards they iced in Thursday’s victory in Carolina, and stuck with the same six defensemen on the backend. That kept Mason Lohrei and Kevin Shattenkirk in the press box as the Black and Gold’s healthy scratches.

    Not to be lost in the emotion of another excellent head-to-head between these two Atlantic powerhouses is that the B’s win pushed their lead over the second-place Panthers up to six points. With four games left on the slate for each team, the Bruins are now firmly in the driver’s seat for the top spot in the division and remain a possibility for the top seed in the Eastern Conference along with the Rangers.

    Boston returns to action Tuesday night when they play host to the Hurricanes at TD Garden.

  • (Click here to subscribe to the Sports Hub Underground podcast.)

    Matt & Ty are back with a new episode of sports talk and a marathon “Big 3.”

    (0:35) Opening banter on school lunches and more.

    (13:50) Thoughts on the Boston Bruins’ recent performance and the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs.

    (36:43) Ty argues why the Patriots should draft wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. in the first round.

    (52:27) The guys hold a marathon “Big 3” in which they draft their favorite places that are no longer around.

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