The Florida Panthers celebrate Matthew Tkachuk’s overtime winner in Game 5 at TD Garden on April 26, 2023. [Source: Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports]
Game 6 should not have been possible. The Panthers should be packing their things to return to Florida but the Bruins shouldn’t be going with them. The regular season powerhouse B’s have made costly mistakes that have extended this series one or two games longer than it should be. There are certain aspects of their game that need adjusting in order to prevent the President’s Trophy curse.
Turnovers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a recipe for disaster. No team should give the opposition any opportunity to gain momentum. The Bruins are guilty of that.
Taylor Hall nearly gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead nearly five minutes into the game with a turnover in front of Linus Ullmark‘s net. Ullmark was able to save the shot off the turnover by Anton Lundell. Tyler Bertuzzi picked up where Hall left off but this time Ullmark was unable to help. An unfathomable pass to no one in front of Ullmark’s crease allowed Carter Verhaeghe to assist on an Anthony Duclair goal giving the Panthers the lead.
The turnover that stung the most came in overtime. Ullmark passed a routine puck behind his net to Verhaeghe which led to Matthew Tkachuk‘s OT thriller sending the series back to Florida.
Turnovers are going to be what kills the Bruins. All of these turnovers came at a point where the game was slow-paced. If the Bruins pick up the pace of the game consistently, watch for them to make clean tape-to-tape passes.
The scrappy Panthers are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to getting under your skin. Tkachuk leads the way as he showed in Game 4 when trying to tussle with Ullmark during a scuffle. Bruins fans are aware that their team carries similar qualities with Brad Marchand, Bertuzzi, and Charlie McAvoy.
The team needs to stay off the penalty kill and avoid the Panthers from scoring early. During the second intermission, Marchand spoke with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan about avoiding unnecessary trouble after the whistle.
“Just skating away. They definitely thrive on that. You can tell that’s part of their game. We haven’t really gotten into that all year. It’s not the time to get away from the way we play.”
Leaving the Superstars Off the Scoresheet
Where is David Pastrnak? Two goals in Game 1 and 3 isn’t going to cut it. The Bruins are fortunate to have the depth that they do because without forwards like Bertuzzi, Hall, and Jake Debrusk, where would the series be? Who would be putting up goals? Tomas Nosek? Absolutely not.
Besides Pastrnak, the Bruins need to look to get Patrice Bergeron involved the way he was in Game 5. The captain missed the first four games of the series but he found himself tying the game in the 3rd on Wednesday night. David Krejci has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury but head coach Jim Montgomery says he will travel with the team to Florida. If in the lineup, expect Krejci to alleviate the pressure off the Bruins playmakers when he rejoins the Czech line.