SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers were the most penalized team in the NHL during the regular season. That is not the case during their opening playoff series against the Boston Bruins although it is close.
Coming into Thursday, the Panthers were third among playoff teams in penalties taken with 28. Dallas and Minnesota, two teams playing each other, have taken 32 apiece.
While this has been a physical series, most of Florida’s penalties have not been of the fighting variety.
Most have been called for tripping, interference, slashing, high-sticking, delay of game — and, with 3:35 left in Game 5 on Wednesday — an inexplicable too-many-men call.
The Bruins were already 2-for-4 on the power play going into that final chance with the man advantage but the Panthers were able to kill it off.
“That was huge and everyone knows what the situation was right there,’’ Anton Lundell said. “We know what the stakes are. Killing that off was huge.”
It could have been a disastrous penalty and it was one coach Paul Maurice took the blame for, as most coaches do when that penalty is called.
Yet, Florida having six men on the ice was so obvious and egregious, it could not be ignored and probably should be blamed on what Maurice said was an “eager guy coming off the bench” and not a coaching error.
These things happen sometimes, sure, but not in such a high-profile point in a game.
They certainly do not happen at a time when a desperate team is trying to keep its season going as Florida was — and is.
“We come off that penalty kill and we actually get some energy off it,” Maurice said on Thursday morning.
“We haven’t killed a lot of penalties — that has been an Achilles’ heel for us here in this series — and we get that kill and because these guys care about each other, they are pulling for the guy that made the mistake. We got a bump off that.”
The Panthers have talked all season about being better about staying out of the box, but they have rarely been able to accomplish their quest against the Bruins.
The Panthers ended up taking 388 penalties during the regular season which was tied with Ottawa for the NHL ‘lead,’ drawing 10 fewer infractions than they were charged with.
“The engagement penalties we’ve taken I’m good with,” Maurice said on Friday morning before the Panthers hosted Game 6 against the Bruins.
“I’m not good with the call, I’m good with the engagement. The first four games this series were very, very physical. There were two or three interference calls on slightly late hits. Where staying out of the penalty box is critical is after the whistle.
“The penalties that happen in a game, like a tripping penalty, there is not a casualness about anybody. Nobody is casual with their stick. It’s the ones after the whistle are the ones we have to learn how to not take.”
— Ryan Lomberg will be out for the remainder of the series with an upper-body injury, per Maurice.
Zac Dalpe will remain in the lineup after drawing in for him in Game 5.
— David Krejci will take warm-ups for the Bruins after missing the first five games of the series with an upper-body injury. Krejci was on the ice for Boston’s morning skate.
“Krejci is checking boxes,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said.
“He will take warm-ups and then we will see. You have to check boxes a little quicker in the playoffs but we are uncertain of his availability.”
— The starting goalies will be Sergei Bobrovsky (although Maurice would not confirm) against Linus Ullmark (whom Montgomery did).
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1
BOSTON BRUINS (ATL1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 6 (Boston Leads 3-2)
- When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, TNT
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Bruins Favored: Money Line (-180); Puck line (-1.5, +145); Over/Under 6 (-120/+100). Series: Boston -900/Florida +600.
- Regular Season Series (Tied 2-2): @Boston 5, Florida 3 (Oct. 17); @Florida 5, Boston 2 (Nov. 23); @Boston 7, Florida 3 (Dec. 19); @Florida 4, Boston 3 OT (Jan. 28)
- Last Season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 60-38-6, 6 ties
- Playoff History (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 4-1, 1996 (first round)
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: @Boston 3, Florida 1; Game 2: Florida 6, @Boston 3; Game 3: Boston 4, @Florida 2; Game 4: Boston 6, @Florida 2; Game 5: Florida 4, @Boston 3 (OT); Game 6: at Florida, Friday, 7:30 (TNT, BSF); Game 7*: at Boston, Sunday. (*) — If Necessary.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
22 Zac Dalpe // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
34 Alex Lyon
Scratched: Mike Benning, Evan Fitzpatrick, Givani Smith, Casey Fitzgerald
Returned to Charlotte: Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion), Ryan Lomberg (UBI)
PROJECTED BOSTON BRUINS LINEUP
59 Tyler Bertuzzi // 37 Patrice Bergeron // 88 David Pastrnak
71 Taylor Hall // 18 Pavel Zacha // 74 Jake DeBrusk
63 Brad Marchand // 13 Charlie Coyle // 17 Nick Foligno
94 Jakub Lauko // 92 Tomas Nosek // 21 Garnet Hathaway
48 Matt Grzelcyk // 73 Charlie McAvoy
27 Hampus Lindholm // 25 Brandon Carlo
81 Dmitry Orlov // 28 Derek Forbort
35 Linus Ullmark
1 Jeremy Swayman
Injured: David Krejci (GTD-UBI)