The Boston Bruins scored first, scored last and scored the only shootout goal in their, 3-2, shootout victory over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Saturday.
Charlie Coyle notched the only tally in the shootout, while Linus Ullmark (3-1-0, 2.23 goals-against average, .927 save percentage in four games played) made 33 saves on 35 shots against in the win for Boston.
Florida netminder, Spencer Knight (2-0-1, 1.96 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in three games played) stopped 31 out of 33 shots faced in the shootout loss– snapping the Panthers’ winning streak at eight games.
The Bruins improved to 4-3-0 (eight points) on the season and in command of 6th place in the Atlantic Division, while Florida fell to 8-0-1 (17 points), but remained in command of 1st place the Atlantic.
Nick Foligno (upper body) and Anton Blidh (upper body) remained out of the lineup for Boston, while Craig Smith returned to action after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
With Smith back into the fold, Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy started the night reuniting Coyle with his familiar wingers, Taylor Hall and Smith on the second line.
Midway through the first period, however, Smith was promoted to the first line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while David Pastrnak took over Smith’s usual role on the second line.
Erik Haula centered the third line with Jake DeBrusk on his left wing and Curtis Lazar on his right wing, while Tomáš Nosek controlled the fourth line with Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman on his wings.
Derek Forbort started the night on the first defensive pairing with Charlie McAvoy, while Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo rounded out the top-four defenders.
Connor Clifton rejoined the lineup on the third pairing with Mike Reilly after Jakub Zboril took Clifton’s spot in Thursday night’s, 3-0, loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Jack Studnicka joined Oskar Steen and Zboril as Boston’s shot list of healthy scratches with Foligno and Blidh out due to injury.
Prior to the game, both teams wore special warmup jerseys to honor Jimmy Hayes, who tragically died on Aug. 23rd at the age of 31. Hayes played for both the Panthers and Bruins in his career and was also honored with a tribute video by the Bruins and a moment of silence prior to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as traditionally performed by Todd Angilly.
Florida wore jerseys that were all No. 12 and read “Broadway” on the nameplate, while Boston wore their own jerseys with “Hayesy” in place of the regular player names.
Both sets of warmup jerseys are being auctioned with proceeds benefiting a charity chosen by the Hayes family, as well as both teams.
An oddity occurred at puck drop, when the Bruins had four skaters with letters on the front of their jersey denoting captain and alternate captain status.
Bergeron had his usual “C” as Boston’s captain, while Marchand, McAvoy and Carlo each had an “A” as the team’s alternate captains.
In accordance with the National Hockey League rulebook, you can only have three alternates in a game where your captain is not present (or you don’t have one altogether), so the “A” on McAvoy’s sweater became the sacrificial lamb for the night during the first intermission.
It was a simple mistake (but fun if you notice the little nuances of the game) and ultimately costs the team nothing when it happens. Well, except for the unstitching part.
Late in the opening frame, Brandon Montour caught Smith away from the puck and received an interference minor at 15:33 of the first period.
Boston’s first power play, however, couldn’t get anything going, but generated enough momentum to dominate the attacking zone in the minutes leading up to the first intermission.
As a result of Lazar’s effort to keep the puck in the zone before heading off the ice to complete a line change, Hall setup Coyle (3) for a snap shot over Knight’s glove from the dot to give the Bruins the, 1-0, lead at 19:18 of the first period.
Hall (2) and Lazar (1) tallied the assists on the goal, which gave Hall his 600th career NHL point as a result of the primary assist.
After 20 minutes of action Saturday night, the B’s led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and led in shots on goal, 14-13.
Florida held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3) and hits (11-10), while Boston led in takeaways (4-2), as well as faceoff win percentage (58-42).
Each team had three giveaways aside, while only the Bruins had seen any time on the skater advantage heading into the dressing room for the first intermission and were 0/1 prior to the middle frame.
Less than a minute into the second period, Anthony Duclair (6) tied it, 1-1, on a pump fake while crashing the net before roofing the puck over Ullmark’s glove and under the bar.
Carter Verhaeghe (3) and Aaron Ekblad (5) recorded the assists on Duclair’s goal as the Panthers evened things up 47 seconds into the second period.
Midway through the middle frame, Verhaeghe hooked DeBrusk and was sent to the penalty box at 12:37 as a result, but once more Boston’s power play was powerless as Florida killed off Verhaeghe’s minor.
Entering the second intermission, the score was tied, 1-1, while the Panthers were outshooting the Bruins, 28-24, including a, 15-10, advantage in the second period alone for Florida.
The B’s maintained the advantage in takeaways (6-5), hits (21-18) and faceoff win% (64-36), while the Panthers led in blocked shots (11-6) and giveaways (6-5) through 40 minutes of play.
Once more, the Panthers had yet to see any time on the power play through two periods, while Boston was 0/2 on the skater advantage.
Midway through the final frame, Coyle tripped Owen Tippett and presented Florida with their first power play of the night at 7:43 of the third period.
It didn’t take the Panthers long to capitalize on the ensuing 5-on-4 advantage as Florida won the offensive zone faceoff back to the point where Ekblad quickly worked the puck to Jonathan Huberdeau before finding Aleksander Barkov (5) for the catch and release goal while Ullmark was behind the play.
Huberdeau (8) and Ekblad (6) tallied the assists on Barkov’s power-play goal and the Panthers led for the first time of the night, 2-1, at 7:49.
Moments later, Verhaeghe went back to the box– this time for hooking Smith at 13:17 of the third period– and Boston’s power play finally converted on the ensuing opportunity.
McAvoy (1) snuck in from the point to the slot to receive a tape-to-tape pass from Marchand before sending the puck into the twine on a catch and release goal of his own to tie the game, 2-2, at 13:35.
Marchand (4) and Hall (3) had the assists– giving Marchand his 400th career assist in the process and becoming the 10th player in Bruins franchise history to notch at least 400 helpers with Boston.
The 33-year-old winger is now two assists away from tying Terry O’Reilly (402) for the 9th-most in franchise history.
At the horn, 60 minutes of regulation was not enough for the Bruins and Panthers, who were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard, despite Florida leading in shots on goal, 35-32, while Boston rallied to an, 8-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.
The Panthers held the advantage in blocked shots (13-9), while the B’s led in takeaways (10-8), hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (61-39). Both teams had seven giveaways each after three periods of play.
With no penalties having been called in overtime, Florida finished 1/1 on the power play, while Boston went 1/3 on the skater advantage Saturday night.
Cassidy sent out Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy to start overtime, while Panthers interim head coach, Andrew Brunette, countered with Barkov, Huberdeau and Ekblad.
Overtime brought quite a few trips up and down the ice for both teams, but only resulted in one shot on goal in the five minutes of 3-on-3 action.
It did not go in, thus necessitating a shootout.
After 65 minutes of action, the score remained even, with the Panthers leading in shots on goal, 35-33, despite trialing Boston, 1-0, in shots on net in overtime alone.
Before the shootout commenced, Florida wrapped up the night leading in blocked shots (14-11) and giveaways (9-7), while the Bruins led in hits (28-25) and faceoff win% (63-37).
The Panthers shot first in the shootout, sending out Huberdeau to kick things off in the first round of the 1-on-1 action, but Ullmark stoned him cold with the right pad.
DeBrusk followed with a shot into Knight’s chest as the two teams were even, 0-0, through one round of the shootout.
Brunette elected Barkov to shoot next as the Florida captain waltzed to the center ice faceoff dot, then skated towards Ullmark with tremendous stickhandling skills before firing a shot attempt wide of the net to the Bruins netminder’s right side.
Cassidy sent Coyle out for Boston’s second shootout attempt and No. 13 in black and gold burst into the zone with speed before cooling things down to a skillful glide, going backhand then pulling the puck to his forehand for the wraparound Knight’s outstretched pad– giving Boston the go-ahead shootout goal.
Florida’s fate in their undefeated start to the regular season rested in the hands of Tippett as the young skater made his way towards Ullmark before wiring a shot into the Bruins goaltender’s glove from the slot.
Boston didn’t need to send out a third shooter as Ullmark had beaten Florida’s first three shots in the shootout, yielding the victory to the Bruins, 3-2, on the final scoreboard.
The Bruins improved to 1-0 in shootouts (1-0 past regulation) this season, while the Panthers fell to 0-1 in shootouts (2-1 past regulation) in 2021-22.
Last season, the B’s went 4-5 in overtime and 4-2 in shootouts (8-7 past regulation).
Boston improved to 4-1-0 (3-0-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 4-0-0 (3-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 2-1-0 (2-0-0 at home) when tied after two periods this season.
Florida fell to 2-0-1 (0-0-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 0-0-1 (0-0-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 2-0-1 (1-0-1 on the road) when tied after two periods in 2021-22.
The Bruins went 4-3-0 in the month of October and will begin November with a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on home ice next Thursday before hitting the road to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 6th.