SUNRISE, FL – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers at the FLA Live Center on Wednesday night.
GOLD STAR: Aleksander Barkov had the kind of night that’s had people making Patrice Bergeron comparisons with him over his years in Florida. Barkov finished with a goal and three points in 20:07 of ice time, had five shots on net, seven shot attempts, three takeaways, a blocked shot and won 13-of-23 faceoffs in the big win for Florida. Barkov finished with the game-winner as well, a really slick top of a Brandon Montour point shot from the slot that Jeremy Swayman didn’t have any hope of stopping. The Panthers goal essentially put things out of reach for a Bruins team that lost their way a little bit in the second period
BLACK EYE: Jakub Zboril didn’t play very much at all after being victimized for a second goal allowed by Boston in the second period that turned the game away from the Boston Bruins. Zboril didn’t make a play on a puck coming back to the end boards, and instead simply tried to pin against the end boards. Instead, Zboril quickly lost a puck battle with Sam Reinhart as Connor Clifton tried to help him out along the boards, and eventually the puck was fed out to Anton Lundell for the go-ahead goal after a fairly even first period. Zboril finished with a game-low 7:17 of ice time and may be headed for another stretch in the press box after Wednesday night’s performance.
TURNING POINT: For the Boston Bruins, it clearly felt like it was the second period when a bad shift by Jakub Zboril and Connor Clifton turned into the go-ahead goal. In reality the game turned on a steady stream of Boston Bruins minor penalties, including a second period holding call on Connor Clifton as he engaged with Sam Reinhart in front of the Boston net. It sure felt and looked like it could have been matching penalties instead of Clifton headed off to the box, but instead it turned into the Aleksander Barkov power play goal that eventually became the game-winner. That’s really where the game turned in the second period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Spencer Knight was outstanding between the pipes for the Florida Panthers, particularly early when the game held in the balance. Knight stopped Charlie Coyle on a breakaway and outmaneuvered Craig Smith when he had a puck all by himself at the net front with time to make a move and shoot on net. He stopped all of those chances early for the Boston Bruins and allowed the Panthers to get untracked and begin piling up the PP chances and special teams goals in the second period. Knight finished with 37 saves in a massive, winning performance for Florida.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of consecutive games that the Boston Bruins have allowed a PP goal after leading the NHL for most of the first month on the PK. They still entered Wednesday night ranked second in the NHL, but they have fallen behind the San Jose Sharks in recent days.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’ve been a little undisciplined this year and it bit us in the butt tonight.” –Brad Marchand, on the seven minor penalties that the Bruins racked up leading to three PP goals allowed in the loss.