How The Boston Bruins Are Approaching Elimination Game Against Florida Panthers

The Boston Bruins trail 3-1 in their second-round series against the Florida Panthers and will look to extend their season Tuesday night in Game 5.

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The Boston Bruins’ season is on the line Tuesday night.

The Bruins trail 3-1 in their second-round series against the Florida Panthers after falling 3-2 in Game 4 at TD Garden Sunday. Boston is now in must-win mode and it starts with Game 5 at Amerant Bank Arena. Tuesday’s puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

“It’s no secret what’s at stake here tonight. I think we can use that to our advantage – high emotion, high intensity,” Andrew Peeke said Tuesday to the media. “If we execute our game plan, good things happen for us.”

The Bruins will be without their captain once again as Brad Marchand misses his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Marchand took a hit from Sam Bennett in the first period of Game 3. While Marchand skated with the team Tuesday morning, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said he is not an option.

“It’s a good thing [Marchand] is here, happy to have him on the trip and we’re just going to try to get the job done for him tonight,” Morgan Geekie said Tuesday to the media.

Boston’s top six had a new look in Game 4 without Marchand. Charlie Coyle centered Danton Heinen and Trent Frederic while Jake DeBrusk was moved up to play with Geekie and David Pastrnak. Pavel Zacha dropped to third-line center and the fourth line remained the same with Jakub Lauko holding onto the left-wing slotting.

Lauko has brought a fiery edge to the bottom six after being inserted into the lineup in Game 3. The 24-year-old has been all over the ice, pesty on the forecheck and finished Game 4 with four hits and one shot through 7:43 of total ice time.

“I liked his energy, liked his pace,” Montgomery said of Lauko Tuesday to the media. “I think he’s coming up with pucks, I think he’s executing how we want to break out of our own end into their end. Would like to see him start to build a team offensive game.”

David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo were the lone goal-scorers for the Bruins on Sunday. Both tallies came in the first period and the Bruins were unable to extend their lead after going into the final frame up 2-1. The B’s were outshot 41-18 by the final buzzer and logged just two shots on goal in the third due partially to four penalties against.

Montgomery has been more conservative than his players with shot selection. The coach said his team needs to do a better job hanging onto pucks in order to get high-danger chances on Sergei Bobrovsky.

“We’ve thrown pucks to the net, we’ve thrown pucks to the net from behind the net, from the side wall,” Montgomery said. “We’re not moving our feet to protect pucks, and we’re not putting it to areas where we can retrieve it and force them to defend longer.”

On the backend, the Bruins have nine healthy defensemen to choose from. Mason Lohrei, Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Carlo are somewhat of a lock on a nightly basis, but the third pair has seen some changes. Derek Forbort, Parker Wotherspoon and Peeke have rotated through the two spots while Kevin Shattenkirk and Matt Grzelcyk have not seen game action in the second round.

Jeremy Swayman backstopped the Bruins with 38 saves in Game 4 and will likely get the nod for Game 5 as well. The goaltender has a 2.28 goals against average and .930 save percentage through 10 starts in the playoffs.
May 12, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Florida Panthers center Anton Lundell (15) controls the puck while Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) defends during the second period in game four of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins have had their frustrations with the officiating throughout the series – namely Bennett’s hit on Marchand and the failed goaltender interference call on the game-tying goal Sunday. None of that matters now. Boston – getting calls or not – has not played well enough to contain the Panthers. Tuesday they have no other choice than to get back to simple, direct winning hockey.

“I think at this point we all know the situation we are in and the adversity we’ve kind of faced coming through these last few games,” Geekie said. “I don’t know if there’s much to be said – we kind of all understand what’s at stake for us. I think everyone’s ready to go.”

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