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Bruins Hold Panthers in Must-Win Game 4 – Hockey Writers – Boston Bruins

Game 4 was a must win game for the Boston Bruins, as being down 3-1 to the Florida Panthers is a very bad situation. They would have to do it without captain Brad Marchand, who is out with a physical injury. Things have been murky for the Bruins offense, as they have been able to produce very little and not test Sergei Bobrovsky nearly enough. It’s safe to say, that hurt the Bruins in this crucial game. The Panthers completed their fifth-highest comeback in franchise history to take a 3-1 series lead. This was a big blow for the Bruins, who will now have to turn around and force themselves into the series. Here are three things you can take away from a significant loss.

Bruins Dominate After Fast Start

The tone was set early in the game as Charlie McAvoy made his presence felt, presenting an opener to Sam Reinhart. The Bruins were determined to right the ship in a must-win game. They started off hot, scoring two goals on their first five shots of the game, as David Pastrnak scored on the power play and Brandon Carlo scored his third goal of the playoffs. However, the Panthers turned up the heat after a hot start and edged out the Bruins.

David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins celebrates with his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime to win Game Seven of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins have been dominated during five-of-five games in the past two games. In fact, they are the worst team in this regard, as they have the worst Corsi percentage (38.93) and the second worst expected goal difference (43.52). It didn’t get any better for the Bruins, as the Panthers continued to establish that same dominance.

The Panthers scored two goals on five-on-5, one of which was the first goal by Anton Lundell and the game-winner by Aleksander Barkov in the third period. As they have done all season, they continued to shut down the Bruins’ chances and give them nothing of quality. After a hot start in the first half, the Panthers settled down and took control of the game.

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After testing Bobrovsky hard in Game 3, they did nothing to test him in the final two periods. The Bruins had 30 shot attempts and 13 shots on goal. When the game was over, it was obvious how much they played. The Panthers held the edge in shot attempts (79-42) and shots on goal (42-18). Being a scrappy defense remains true, as they kept the Bruins in dangerous spots on the ice and limited the Bruins to five shots on goal from high-danger spots. In a must-win game, the Bruins had it TWO shots on goal in the third period and eight shot attempts. Poor effort and lackluster defense took the wind out of the Bruins’ sails.

Marchand’s offense was struggling, and it was worse without him. Regardless of whether the captain is in the fold, the Panthers are no match for the Bruins, and they don’t have an answer on defense. The forward team was poor, and the strikers could do more.

Jeremy Swayman Can Only Do So Much

Given the game in front of him, Jeremy Swayman can only do so much. The biggest blessing for the Bruins is the consistent level of play in their scoring. Whether it’s Swayman or his teammate Linus Ullmark, the goalie gives the Bruins a chance to win. However, goal setting can do so much and can only help you in most cases. Demanding and expecting perfection is difficult, as they are human and can only do so much. In Game 4, Swayman did everything he could to keep the Bruins in it until they got out of it.

Related: Bruins’ Slow Start and Bad Penalty Killed them in 6-2 Loss

When the Bruins ended the first period, Florida kept up their relentless pressure. Again, the Panthers were the dominant team in the first half, but the Bruins did a better job of capitalizing. The pressure kept coming, and finally, they were able to solve Swayman three times. They have scored more goals in the last three games (15) than they have allowed in the seven-game series in the first round (12).

Swayman stopped 38 of 41 shots he faced, good for a .927 save percentage. In addition, he finished with 1.59 goals saved above expectations, which is impressive considering the result.

He can only do so much, and he did everything he could to give the Bruins a chance to tie the series. Although he lost, controversy arose.

Controversial Policy Becomes Revolutionary

Public enemy number one in Boston was Sam Bennett, and rightly so. He was the man against March and did not play in this game. Bennett would feel that when he scored the equalizer in the third period. The Panthers were outscoring the Bruins at this stage of the game, but how the goal was scored was the issue.

It wasn’t long before the Panthers tied the game. You could tell by the way they were playing and you could feel that they had a lot of energy. However, the goal scored was highly questionable and was a game changer in the game of hockey. As you can see, Bennett connects with Charlie Coyle, preventing Swayman from playing the position. Head coach Jim Montgomery challenged the goal, which ended up standing. However, when you see the report on how this department is managing it, it is strange.

The league thought it was a good goal, although it admitted that there was some shuffling by Bennett. Less than four minutes later, Barkov scored the game-winning goal with a great effort to keep the puck in the area.

The Bruins didn’t lose because of a layoff, but this goal turned the game around and helped pave the way for the Panthers’ victory.

The Panthers Own the Game and the Series

You could argue that Bennett’s goal was controversial and should have come back. However, the Panthers were the better team and dominated the Bruins. For the third game in a row, the Bruins have been outplayed, and it shows.

Setting a goal can only do so much, so it will need to be adjusted to help him out. The Bruins are facing elimination on the road Tuesday night and will do everything they can to force Game 6 back to Boston.

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