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Pluck of the Florida Panthers Not Enough to Beat Bruins

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Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark drops to the ice after missing the save on a goal by Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart which was the first of three goals in the second for the Panthers. Reinhart has five goals in his past four games. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Florida Panthers have found themselves down four goals in Boston before and did so again on Monday night.

Only it was not at the start of the third period as was the case three years ago, but less than two minutes into the second.

Alas, there would be no momentous comeback for the Panthers this time.

But boy, did they give it a go.

The Panthers were able to score three goals within a span of 5:20 following David Pastrnak’s power play goal but did not get any closer in a 7-3 loss to the Bruins at the Garden which looks worse than it was.

On Nov. 12, 2019, Aaron Ekblad scored 50 seconds into the third period with Boston up 4-0. The Panthers ended up scoring four in that period before winning in a shootout in what was, up to that point, the biggest comeback in franchise history.

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Monday night, the Panthers gave up three in the final half of the first period with Pastrnak getting one 98 seconds into the second to make it 4-0.

The Panthers looked dead in the dirty Boston water.

Yet they started their comeback starting with another goal from Sam Reinhart, a one-timed bomb from Eric Staal and a spectacular between-the-skates shot from Carter Verhaeghe to make things extremely interesting.

Only these Bruins did not go quietly into the cold night.

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With 9:10 left in the second, David Krejci followed up a rebound off the post and beat Spencer Knight to give the Bruins some breathing room.

Florida was never that close again despite outshooting the Bruins 39-26 and holding an expected-goals advantage of 3.33-2.6 per NaturalStatTrick.com

With Patrice Bergeron scoring twice in the third and the Panthers getting stoned by Linus Ullmark after that second-period flurry, Florida headed home with another loss.

Boston is now 17-0-2 at home this season and 2-0 against the Panthers.

”To win that game, we were going to have to give up almost nothing off the rush,’’ coach Paul Maurice said. “They climbed the blue line on us a couple of times in the first period.’’

Funny thing is, the Panthers probably should have been up in the first minute of the game.

Colin White, back in the lineup with Sasha Barkov (knee) out, took off on a breakaway and fired at Ullmark.

Ullmark was then plowed into by Hampus Lindholm and no whistle had blown; the puck — and the goalie — went over the line.

Goal, right?

Nope.

According to the NHL, “the referee informed the Situation Room that he was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop play before the two Boston players collided into the net.”

It was announced as an “intent” to blow the whistle.

OK, then.

Why was there an “intent” to stop play? Ullmark did not have control of the puck and the play probably would have kept going had the two not run into each other. But the official was going to blow it dead “before the two Boston players collided.”

Anyway, the Panthers kept coming at Ullmark and the Bruins and controlled the pace of play for much of the first 10 minutes of the period.

Then Connor Clifton scored on a puck that bounced around all over in front of Knight — and even went off of Knight — at 10:51 and the Bruins were off and running.

Brandon Carlo scored from the top of the slot just over three minutes later with Charlie Coyle putting one in from the right circle at 16:07.

Florida was in deep now.

Knight stayed in the game, his first since being pulled in Winnipeg back on Dec. 6, and gave up the power play goal to Pastrnak — who later rammed Gus Forsling in the head after Florida had scored three straight goals.

The Panthers also played part of the second without Eetu Luostarinen after he needed to be stitched up compliments of a high-stick (which was not called although there may have been an intent to) from Jake DeBrusk.

Knight ended up making 19 saves on 26 shots after missing the past six games after a bout with the flu.

GR’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston (2 goals, 4 points)

2. Linus Ullmark, Boston (33 saves)

3. Brad Marchand, Boston (3 assists)

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • National TV: TNT
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM 2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Season Series (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 4, Devils 2 (Dec. 17)
  • Last season: Florida won 2-1
  • All-time regular season series: Devils lead 56-34-7, 7 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Friday at New York Islanders, 7:30 p.m.

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