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    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Boston Bruins hardly had a chance to exhale after a thrilling Game 7 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday at TD Garden.

    The quick turnaround to begin their Round 2 matchup with the Florida Panthers Monday night left the Bruins with little prep time. With just a morning skate under their belt, the Bruins hoped to ride off an emotional high against the heavily favored Panthers, who were a week removed from their first-round series-clinching win over their in-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning.

    So when the day off between Games 1 and 2 came around, the Bruins were more than happy to take a short breather.

    “The travel day in between series, play Saturday, turn right around on Sunday and get down, have dinner and then play… so today, having it be an off day for the majority of the guys, this can be a little bit of fun,” defenseman Charlie McAvoy said during Tuesday’s off-day media availability. “You’re in a finding footing day to take care of yourself, you know, come tomorrow perhaps feel a little bit fresher.”

    Some Bruins could take advantage of the beach setting outside of their team hotel. Others might venture on the streets of the famed Los Alas Boulevard to explore multiple seafood and dining options. And others, like Brandon Carlo, could catch up on some needed sleep after welcoming the newest member of his family in the wee Monday morning hours.

    Come Wednesday, the Bruins will look to ride the highs of their 5-1 win in Game 1.

    Indeed, they encountered multiple encouraging developments, ranging from Carlo’s dad goal to another outstanding outing by Jeremy Swayman to Mason Lohrei’s emergence end and an inspiring return by Derek Forbort (to name a few).

    “I don’t know if it’s about refocusing just to try to take that energy and kind of character in Game 1,” forward Morgan Geekie said a day removed from notching a second-period equalizer a mere 67 seconds after Matthew Tkachuk’s equalizer. 

    “In Game 1, we showed the compete and the desire to win and we did that in Game 7 [against Toronto]. I think that’s something we can learn to take in for the rest of the series. You know, they’re a good team over there. We know they’re gonna come hard and, you know, just try to take the rhythm we were in playing every other day and just try to start well.”

    The fact that the Bruins are in such a scenario to exact revenge on the team that eliminated them in last year’s first round is a testament to their resolve.

    Jim Montgomery’s club would’ve had their breakup day earlier this week had Hampus Lindholm, David Pastrnak, and Swayman not come through in pivotal Game 7 moments. Instead, the Bruins bounced back after allowing the first goal midway through the third and, in all likelihood, saved Montgomery’s job.

    Instead of cleaning out their lockers for another early breakup day, the Bruins got to resume their pursuit of the Stanley Cup. They now sit 11 wins away from championship glory after another emotional win in Game 1.

    But the Bruins can’t rely solely on the lift from the 48 hours between Game 7 and Game 1 to carry them into Wednesday’s tilt.

    The overall effort remained solid, but at times, Boston’s execution looked off. Between the struggling power play, mental lapses — including McAvoy’s defensive zone turnover on Tkachuk’s tally — and challenges against Florida’s aggressive forecheck in every area of the ice, the Bruins have their fair share of improvements to fine-tune ahead of Game 2.

    “I think our confidence has gone to another level after pushing through the first round. And I think that confidence makes you believe that you can [win], and it’s a great place to be mentally,” Montgomery said postgame. “But, like I said, we made a lot of mistakes. And if it’s not for Jeremy Swayman, that would have been a really a lot closer of a game, and maybe they come out on top. We didn’t have enough scoring chances. The score is not indicative of the way the game was like.”

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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