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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Florida Panthers Evened Series With Bruins. Settled Scores, Too

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The Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins mix it up in the third period after brandon Montour scored to make it a 6-1 game on Wednesday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — On a night when the Florida Panthers’ most important outcome was a win against the Boston Bruins, fans will remember all the extracurricular activities much longer.

The Panthers did, indeed, get the much-needed win as they tied up their best-of-7 series by beating the Bruins 6-1 on Wednesday.

The series now turns to Boston for Game 3 tonight.

First, you had Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman chased after allowing four goals. It was the first time he allowed more than two goals in his eight playoff appearances this year.

Then you had a pair of superstars in David Pastrnak and Matthew Tkachuk tossing punches at center ice.

Apparently, with the game out of hand, Tkachuk made Pasta an offer he couldn’t refuse: Fighting for the honor of his team.

With the bench depleted after all the ejections, we almost saw captain Sasha Barkov on defense.

With one defender on the box and two others thrown out of the game in the third period, the multi-talented Barkov came close to taking a shift on defense.

Swayman was touted as the most valuable Bruin following their Game 1 win.

In seven starts before Wednesday, he sported a .955/1.42.

It looked like the magic would continue through the first period, but Steven Lorentz tipped in a Brandon Montour slapper for his second playoff goal early in the second period to pierce Swayman’s armor.

Lorentz had one goal for the entire regular season.

Swayman is not to blame for the four goals surrendered.

Not only was there the Lorentz deflection, but goalmouth scramble goals by Barkov and Eetu Luostarinen, not to mention a rocket from the point by Gus Forsling with Tkachuk providing the screen.

If Swayman was visibly upset after the game, he didn’t show it.

He preferred invoking the amnesia that hockey goalies need and looking forward to the next game.

Swayman said that coach Jim Montgomery gave him a quick explanation of why he was pulled, and he was okay with it.

“I trust that guy with my life,” Swayman said. “He’s going to make decisions that are going to help the team and all I can say is ‘I can’t wait for Friday’.”

The Pastrnak-Tkachuk battle was the main event after many other niceties had calmed down.

At the time, 11 players had already been thrown out.

The two were chirping at center ice and then on their benches only seconds before.

Thachuk followed “The Code” by extending the invitation.

Pastrnak had to accept.

If he did not, it would get around the league, and he would get more “invitations.”

The more aggressive Tkachuk did not follow The Code when he threw an extra punch while Pastrnak was down.

He will be reminded of that transgression when the games resume in front of a hostile Boston crowd.

According to hockeyfights.com, Pastrnak only had one other fight in his NHL career, against Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi in 2018.

About the punch after he was down, he said: “I don’t really want to get into it. I’m not a very experienced fighter. I fell down. It’s on me. I wish I approached it a little better but like I said, I haven’t been in many of those. I’m not really going to comment. Two games are done. We stole one. We’re going back home. We have to focus on Game 3.”

Montgomery praised Pastrnak for his spunk but was not very happy with the Tkachuk extra shot.

“Pasta and Tkachuk, they just went out there and fought,” Montgomery said. “That’s what you like. You like your hockey players to be competitors.”

He was abrupt when asked to comment on Tkachuk.

“I’m not going to comment on players on other teams,” he said. “I just worry about my own players.”

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. BOSTON BRUINS (ATL2)
BEST-OF-7 SERIES TIED 1-1
GAME 3 

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