Boston Bruins

Bruins Retake Lead in First Round, Beating Panthers in Florida

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Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, Linus Ullmark stopped 28 shots and the Boston Bruins topped the Florida Panthers 4-2 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Friday night.

Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak and Nick Foligno also had goals for Boston, which reclaimed home-ice advantage and took a 2-1 lead in the series. Dmitry Orlov had a pair of long outlet passes that became assists for the Bruins.

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Alex Lyon stopped 23 of 26 shots for Florida, the Pastrnak goal with 11:28 remaining chasing him and having Florida send in Sergei Bobrovsky. And that suggests the Panthers have a big decision to make on a starting netminder before Game 4 in Sunrise on Sunday afternoon.

Gustav Forsling and Sam Reinhart had goals for Florida, which didn't get anything past Ullmark until 5:19 remained. Boston improved to 50-3-0 this season when allowing no more than two goals.

The Bruins were again without captain Patrice Bergeron, out with an upper-body injury. He won’t play in Game 4 either, with the Bruins believing he will be ready to play when the series returns to Boston for Game 5 next week.

Florida is built to let shots fly. There have been three teams in NHL history to take more than 3,000 shots in a season — the 1970-71 Bruins are one of them, and the other two are the 2021-22 Panthers, and the 2022-23 Panthers.

That makes what Boston did even more impressive than it looked on the stat sheet.

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The Bruins held Florida to four shots in the second period — matching the Panthers’ fourth-lowest total for any of their 254 periods this season to that point. And while completely clamping down on the defensive end, Boston turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 edge.

Marchand sent a wobbling puck toward the net from the right point, and Coyle — positioned in front of the net — chopped down at it as it sailed toward the goal. The puck bounced off the ice and past Lyon at exactly 6:00 of the second.

Pastrnak got the second of the long Orlov assists after getting behind the defense to beat Lyon for a 3-0 lead, and Foligno made it 4-0 by tipping a pass by Bobrovsky with 8:15 left.

The Bruins — as would be expected from a No. 1 seed coming off a big home loss — came out flying and controlled long stretches of the opening period.

But it was a rather innocuous-looking play that gave Boston a 1-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes. Hall was along the right boards when he took a long clearing pass from Dmitry Orlov, controlled the puck and fired a shot from just inside the blue line.

It got over Lyon’s glove, and just 2:26 into the contest Boston had the lead.

Around the Rink

Boston improved to 15-2-1 after a loss this season. … Florida has not been shut out at home in 109 consecutive games, going back to Feb. 24, 2021. … Ullmark was a game-time decision after Boston’s morning skate, but showed no ill effects of anything in Game 3. … Florida briefly lost D Aaron Ekblad with 11:11 left in the second after he collided with Boston’s Charlie McAvoy. Ekblad immediately grabbed for the top of his helmet, went directly to the locker room after getting off the ice — and was back less than three minutes later.

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