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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Panthers and Bruins Series Got Physical — And Personal

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Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas grabs Boston’s Tyler Bertuzzi during his team’s 6-3 win in Game 2 on Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By the end of Wednesday night’s game between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins, the officials had enough.

With three seconds left on the clock and players from both teams being separated once again, the game officials just ran things out and the game was over.

Florida took Game 2 by a final score of 6-3 to even the best-of-7 series.

Boston heads to Sunrise for the next two games and the bad blood between the two tea,s is expected to spill over.

All told, seven players were basically tossed out of the game as they were assessed 10-minute misconducts in the final two minutes of a game which was determined.

While the first two games were filled with hard hits and physical play, the two teams took it to another level when Boston’s Tomas Nosek hit Florida center Eric Staal in the corner.

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The Panthers took exception to the hit with replays showing that Nosek appeared to raise his elbow as he hit Staal.

A couple of scrums broke out by the bench as Nosek came off the ice with the ESPN microphones picking up some of the heated conversation between the Boston forward and players from the Panthers — most notably Staal and Matthew Tkachuk.

With ESPN commentator Ray Ferraro standing between the benches thereby separating Nosek and Tkachuk, some of the barbs were picked up by his microphone and broadcast for all to hear.

They are not suitable for print but the gist of it was, Staal called Nosek a “loser” with Tkachuk crossing a line by getting pretty personal in his choice of insult.

“Good hit. Good, clean hit,’’ Staal could be heard shouting at Nosek. “Really f-ing nice. Good hit. Good, clean hit, you f-ing loser.”

Nosek was not having it: “I barely touched you,” he replied.

While Tkachuk and Staal were yelling at Nosek and others on the Boston bench, Ryan Lomberg skated over and stared down Nosek as officials sorted things out.

Ferraro reported that Lomberg tried going out on the ice for the next shift but was held back.

Lomberg did get out there for what ended up being the final shift of the night and he was the second Florida player to get a misconduct after going after Trent Frederic.

Even Florida coach Paul Maurice got into it with the officials, his salty choice of language pretty apparent even without the benefit of sound.

The final few minutes looked a lot like the early going when Radko Gudas went after Brad Marchand as players went looking for hits.

When Taylor Hall scored the final goal of the night with 1:10 remaining, fights broke out between the two teams with Gudas, Nick Foligno and Derek Forbort all getting sent to the room.

In what turned into the final spat of the game with three seconds left, Lomberg and Trent Frederic got into it with both players throwing punches before hitting the ice and finally being separated by the officials.

According to Boston Hockey Now, Frederic was spotted “screaming furiously and had to be restrained from going after Lomberg.”

And the hit that started all of this — Nosek hitting Staal — drew no penalty nor, apparently, any sort of punishment from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

This comes after Bertuzzi grabbed the stick of Nick Cousins while the two were jostling as they headed to their benches in Game 1.

Bertuzzi took Cousins’ stick and brought it onto the Boston bench, attempting to snap the blade afterward.

No penalty was called on that, either.

“It’s the playoffs. There are some stupid things that happen,” Bertuzzi said per Boston Hockey Now. “That was one of them.”

Aside from the roughing and fighting calls, the officials have not blown their whistles too much in the first two games.

That could change on Friday night after things got a little out of control on Wednesday.

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FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1
BOSTON BRUINS (ATL1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 3 (Series tied 1-1)

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