BOSTON — The Bruins’ performance in Wednesday night’s Game 2 loss to the Florida Panthers was emblematic of a few things.
Yes, we know it is hard to win in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Bruins were never going to roll to a 16-0 finish throughout the postseason. There was just something more to the 6-3 defeat at TD Garden.
Boston came out flat and was forced to mount a pair of one-goal comebacks in the second peruod. As they had all season, the Bruins proved to be up for the challenge through the first 40 minutes of the game. Then something switched.
“When we fell down 4-2, I don’t think we regrouped and reset,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said postgame. “Most of the year we were able to take a breath, reset and go back to our game. We didn’t go back to our game when it went 4-2. I thought we got back to our games in the first two periods. Every time we fell behind, we got back to our game. A lot of what we did in the first two periods I liked.”
The third period presented a new challenge for the Bruins, as a quick goal put them behind again. Then another to make the deficit two. That is when Boston started to press and things started to unravel.
“I just thought our players didn’t make the best decisions,” Montgomery said. “I thought for the majority of the first two periods, we were doing really good things with the puck. But the turnovers we had tonight were catastrophic. They were right through the middle of the ice, and not typical of the turnovers — we usually have turnovers where other teams are forcing them or we’re trying to make plays. It wasn’t really in areas, typically, that you were trying to make plays where we turned it over.”
The Bruins ended the game with 15 total giveaways, two of which led directly to Panthers goals and five of which ended in high-danger scoring chances for Florida. It was a brand of hockey Boston hadn’t played in months, leading to the kind of loss it hadn’t suffered in just as long.
Here are more notes from Bruins-Predators Game 2:
— Brad Marchand opened the scoring for the Bruins with a shorthanded goal in the second period. It was Marchand’s first postseason shorty since Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks and his first of the 2022-23 season.
— The Bruins lost by three goals on Wednesday. They lost by three-plus goals just four times all regular season, which was half as many as any other team in the NHL as several teams tied for second-fewest with nine, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
— The five goals given up by Linus Ullmark on Wednesday were tied for the most the Vezina Trophy favorite surrendered in a game this season. It was the first time he allowed five goals in the final two periods, however, as he shut Florida out in the first frame with some tremendous stops.
— The Bruins and Panthers will head down south for Game 3 on Friday tied, 1-1. Puck drop from FLA Live Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.