|@ Panthers (5-4-1)||0||1||0||1|
The first five minutes of the game were fairly high energy and the Panthers had multiple great shots but nothing went in. In this time period, Bolland took a high stick to the face that went uncalled and he headed to the dressing room. With 12:03 left in the period, Reilly Smith got called for hooking and the Panthers went on the penalty kill. The Bruins took full advantage of this opportunity and Brad Marchand scored to give the Bruins the lead. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask saved everything that came his way. The Panthers finally got a break when Jimmy Hayes got a penalty for hooking. Before you ask, yes it is very ironic that the players the Bruins and Panthers traded to each other got the same penalties just minutes apart. However, this break was not as big as the Cats hoped it would be and they were unable to score. The rest of the period featured aggressive play by both teams but to no avail. At the end of the period, the Bruins led the Panthers 1-0 and both teams had 7 shots on goal. If I had one suggestion for how we could do better next period, I would just ask for better defensive play because the offense was definitely there. The Panthers found Rask on a hot streak, but that streak has to end sometime.
The second period started out just as the first did. I can’t really say that not much happened because both teams certainly came out to play. However, production-wise, there was little action. That is, until the Bruins’ Brad Marchand scored as Luongo was momentarily out of the net. Then, the Bruins love continued as Brandon Pirri was penalized for tripping. The Panthers still had not gotten a shot on goal this period. Of course, the Bruins took the opportunity to score on this power play as well, shattering the Panthers’ penalty kill record. The goal was scored by Zdeno Chara. The Panthers needed to find a way to function without Barkov and Jagr and they needed to do it quickly. Around halfway through the period, the Panthers got a chance on the power play as Colin Miller was called for hooking. Then, Jonathan Huberdeau was tripped on the breakaway and the Panthers had 30 seconds on 5-on-3. This time, the Panthers were able to score. It was Nick Bjugstad who put the Panthers on the board with a goal assisted by Dave Bolland and Brandon Pirri. The Panthers still had their power play because both penalties were still occurring when the goal was scored. Even if it didn’t, the Bruins were called for another penalty, this time for delay of game, and the Panthers went back on the 5-on-3. Tuukka Rask would not let any more goals in at this point though. The Bruins almost widened their lead, but the goal was waived off due to goalie interference. At the end of the period, the Bruins were leading the Panthers 3-1. The Panthers had 14 shots on goal and the Bruins had 17. I’m glad the Panthers scored once this period, but their stickhandling made it nearly impossible to score any more. Too many passes were missed and if the Cats want a chance at winning, they’re going to have to remedy that.
All it took was 30 seconds for the Panthers to end up on the penalty kill again after Pirri was called for hooking. The Bruins were hoping for a lucky bounce to secure their lead but they were not able to get one. For the next ten minutes, the Panthers were not able to get any lucky bounces either, but it was not for lack of trying. With 4:59 left in the period, Zdeno Chara was sent to the sin bin for delay of game and the Panthers went on a crucial power play. The cats added to their man advantage by taking out Luongo, but the penalty was killed nonetheless. With just over 2 minutes left in the game, Brad Marchand was given a 5 minute penalt and a game misconduct for boarding, which I wish came sooner in the game. The Panthers would remain on the power play with the extra attacker on for the end of the game, but it didn’t matter. At the end of the game, the score was 3-1 Bruins (sigh). The Panthers had 32 shots on goal and the Bruins had 25. This was a tough game because the Panthers just could not play cohesively. Hopefully the Panthers will get some rest tonight and will be reinvigorated for tomorrow’s game.
Nick Bjugstad scored the only goal for the Panthers tonight and had many more close shots too. Logan Shaw played well in his first NHL game, even if he didn’t draw too much attention to himself. Reilly Smith did not score but he did make a great effort to do so against his former team. The Panthers played the final several minutes with the man advantage after Brad Marchand went off for burying Dmitry Kulikov from behind, but were unable to find the back of the net.
The Panthers are playing back-to-back games, so tomorrow night, October 31st, the Florida Panthers will take on the Washington Capitals in Florida at 7:00 pm. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.