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Boston Bruins Out After Second Round Series Defeat to the Florida Panthers

In this second round 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoff series, we shall recap what happened between the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers, as the Panthers take the series four game to two. This gritty and well coached Bruins team had a respectable run, but this was simply a case of the cream rising to the top. Let’s be honest, the Bruins, on the heels of an outstanding goaltending performance from Jeremy Swayman, weren’t really favourites against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their round one series. If they were favourites, it wasn’t by much. And then, coming up against the heavyweight Panthers, their run of luck seemed to hit a wall.

Bruins and Panthers Second Round Series Recap

There were definitely a couple of defining moments as we shall see in this second round series recap between the Bruins and Panthers. Florida had a way of flexing their collective muscle, and showing the Bruins and the rest of the hockey world that they are a deserving Stanley Cup favourite. One big instance of such a flex came late in game two, when Matthew Tkachuk got into it with David Pastrnak. This can only be described as a weight-class mismatch, and Tkachuk wasn’t taking any prisoners. This may have been a mismatch, but it just shows the Panthers collective commitment to playing that vicious style, we are accustomed to watching in playoff hockey.

The Series Turning Points

The next big turning point came in game three. Sam Bennett had missed the first two games of the series, and was eager to leave his mark. He came up against Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the neutral zone. Bennett, wanting to leave an impact, and perhaps targeting a known injury, hit Marchand quite hard, square in the chest. In any case, Marchand ended up missing the remainder of that game, and the next two series games. He did return for game six, but it was likely, too little, too late. Also, a positive for the Panthers, that came from the previous Bennett injury, was the emergence of Anton Lundell. It just seemed things are going their way, but, hey, you earn your own breaks.

Anton Lundell is having himself a tremendous 2024 playoffs. As mentioned, he filled in for Bennett. When he jumped on a line with Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe, the club didn’t miss a beat. So far in the playoffs all total, Lundell has two goals and seven assists for nine points through 11 games. He only had 35 points all regular season.

The Puck Stops Here: Officer Bob in Net

Another big reason for the Panthers success, has been goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. After all, it shouldn’t be a surprise as he is a $10 million man. But, you still have to play up to it. Throughout his career he has, with two Vezina trophies to prove it. And this year has been no exception. In this year’s post-season, he is 8-3 now, with a .902 SV% and a 2.37 GAA. In the series against the Bruins, after game one’s blowout, he posted a .921 SV%. They say you can’t win without good goaltending, and that is marvelous goaltending, if we do say so ourselves.

Another Panthers X-Factor in the Bruins Series Recap

The last big X-Factor in this series, was Aleksander Barkov. If ever there’s an unstoppable force, Barkov fits the bill. He has 13 points in 11 games thus far, averaging 21:26 a night. In this series, he provided a matchup nightmare for Jim Montgomery’s staff. This was very evident in his monster game two performance. Barkov had two goals and two assists, as the Panthers won 6-1, and quickly tie the series at 1-1. After game one, it was a bit unknown how the series would playout, but after that, it was basically all Panthers.

The Bruins were definitely outmatched in high-end talent. It worked against the Leafs, but the Panthers are just too relentless. Yes, the Bruins still have David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and also, perhaps revealing the coming out party of 6’5″, Justin Brazeau, but the Panthers come in waves. One underrated aspect of the Panthers, and we didn’t even discuss it, is their defence core. They have six players that, from the eye-test alone, are all arguably plus, wins-above-replacement. Aaron Ekblad and Gustav Forsling are top-NHL defencemen, to carry their top pairings. Moreover, when you mix in Oliver Ekman-Larson on the third pairing, it is just as we said about their team as a whole, relentless.

To Wrap up the Second Round Playoff Series Recap, What Comes Next for the Bruins and Panthers Squads

The Bruins were a very pleasant surprise all season, but it is a wonder now, if it is time to began a more in-depth retool. Probably not a full rebuild, but definitely shifting parts around. It is difficult to compete in this league, when only one scorer had more than 67 points in the regular season. Part of their difficulty, is the fact all the high-end talent they expend in net. Between Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark, there is much discussion whether the tandem will be back in October. As for the Panthers, they are now set to face the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. That will be a great series, between two great teams. It kicks-off Wednesday from Madison Square Garden.

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Main photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


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