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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ryan Lomberg Enjoys Being Boston’s Public Enemy No. 1



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Fans cheer as a bloodied Ryan Lomberg enters the penalty box after a fight against the Winnipeg Jets in Sunrise on March 11. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

CORAL SPRINGS — When this first-round playoff series started on Monday night, odds are few fans of the Boston Bruins knew who Ryan Lomberg was.

After his antics in Game 2, however, he has become the subject of their scorn at least on social media and sports radio in Boston.

Lomberg, as one might imagine, is cool with it.

“It just comes with the territory and the style of game I play,” Lomberg said. “It has kind of been that way my whole career. This is the playoffs and I seem to play my best when I am not getting along with the other team.”

Lomberg, one of the main pests on the Panthers, introduced himself to the Boston faithful in the closing minutes of Florida’s 6-3 win over the Bruins when he slid over to the end of the the Panthers’ bench to stare down Tomas Nosek.

This came after Nosek’s high hit on Eric Staal which led to the subsequent trash talk between Nosek, Staal and Matthew Tkachuk.

Although Lomberg did not immediately get on the ice when play resumed, he did go on for what turned out to be the final shift of the game — and he ended up going all WWE on Trent Frederic.

After the two got together and traded punches, they fell to the ice with Lomberg getting his forearm around Frederic’s neck as they wrestled on the ice before being pulled apart.

Both players were given misconducts and their melee marked the end of the game as the exasperated officials sent everyone home with three seconds left on the clock.

Frederic was so upset with Lomberg that he was seen storming down the shared hallway at Boston Garden to get to the Florida locker room. He was intercepted by security guards.

”That stuff is going to happen in the playoffs when you get into battles with other guys and, well, that’s just the way it went down,” Lomberg said. “It is the playoffs. Kind of standard.”

On Friday in Sunrise, Frederic spoke to reporters and sort of laughed about the whole thing although it did not seem he was completely over what happened.

“I was being choked a little bit, couldn’t breathe and maybe panicked a little too early,” Frederic said. “It was getting close there to where the lights were going to turn off there. I have never seen that one. It is what it is.”

While many thought Lomberg had a target on his back going into Game 3, the two teams played a relatively clean game.

There were a few skirmishes once Boston took a commanding lead in the third period with Brandon Montour ejected after giving Charlie McAvoy a facewash before getting into it with Tyler Bertuzzi.

Other than that and a couple of other minor scrums, the bad blood from Game 2 did not carry over into Game 3.

That does not mean things will not amp up as the series goes along, however.

“Everyone wants to win because it is the playoffs. Winning is the primary focus, not evening any scores,” Lomberg said. “Even after all the stuff unfolded, I was pretty certain it was going to be about the game in Game 3 because everyone is so focused and dialed in to the task at hand.”

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Ryan Lomberg has words with Charlie Coyle during Game 3 on Friday night in Sunrise. // Photo courtesy Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Lomberg’s intensity can sometimes put his team at a disadvantage as shown earlier in Game 2 as he took a penalty for cross-checking Brad Marchand in the back all while Radko Gudas seemed to have control of the situation.

Aside for some youthful indiscretions, the Panthers love them some Ryan Lomberg.

“That’s what he does. He creates so much energy for our team,’’ Nick Cousins said. “Even on the bench, you don’t get to hear him, but he is absolutely hilarious. He keeps the bench really loose. At the same time, he is very focused and we are really lucky to have that type of player. He is built for playoff hockey.”

As much as the Panthers dig Lomberg, the Bruins and their fanbase have seen about enough of him.

And that is the point to it all, right?

“He is a warrior,” Sam Bennett said. “He is a guy who is going to do anything he can to help the team. He’ll take on the biggest guy in the room. He has no fear. It is awesome having a guy on your team who will stand up to anyone and do the hard job not many guys want to do. He does that every game.”

Lomberg’s popularity with fans in Florida started in his first season here in 2021. He had not played all that much before being put in the lineup against Columbus and he had a positive impact on the game with a goal, three hits and a center-ice fight with Kole Sherwood.

Florida did not take Lomberg out of the lineup again that season and he has been a mainstay for the Panthers ever since.

This season, he has moved up to the third line and had a career-high 12 goals with 20 points in playing all 82 games for the Panthers.

“He is a guy you hate to play against but love having on your team,’’ Bennett said. “Those type of guys are especially valuable in the playoffs.”

GAME 4 (Boston Leads Series 2-1)

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