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  • Brad Marchand’s exit and other takeaways from Bruins’ Game 3 loss

    Tim Rosenthal May 10, 2024

    Perhaps reality is starting to sink in for the Boston Bruins.

    After riding emotional highs in their Game 7 overtime thriller against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Game 1 triumph over the Florida Panthers, the Bruins look outmatched against the top team in the Atlantic Division.

    Jeremy Swayman again did everything he could to bail his team out. But coming off a heated ending of their Game 2 blowout in Sunrise, the Bruins struggled to support their fourth-year netminder at every area of the ice.

    By the opening 20, the tensions had simmered. There was little carryover from the scrappy moments at the end of Wednesday’s tilt, highlighted by David Pastrnak’s bout with Matthew Tkachuk.

    The poor breakouts, sloppy clearing attempts and ineffective shot selection resulted in another slow start.

    Evan Rodrigues got the Panthers off and running after just tucking his stick under the bar to beat Swayman on a rebound at 8:14 of the first.

    Florida capitalized on both ends of Mason Lohrei’s double-minor for high-sticking late in the second. The Panthers extended their lead to 3-0 at 17:14 of the second after Vladimir Tarasenko and Carter Verhaeghe notched their power play markers just a minute apart.

    Without an injured Brad Marchand (upper-body) to start the third, Brandon Montour extended Florida’s lead to 4-0 after firing a one-timer past a screened Swayman during another man advantage opportunity.


    In their captain’s absence, the Bruins showed some life after Montour’s tally as Jakub Lauko and Jake DeBrusk delivered top-shelf markers. But Sergei Bobrovsky bounced back to make multiple timely stops on Boston’s second power play attempt of the night.

    Sam Reinhart notched an empty netter, and Rodrigues added another power play tally in the closing seconds to secure Florida’s 6-2 victory.

    Here’s what we learned as the Bruins face a 2-1 series deficit entering a must-win Game 4.

    The Bruins attempt to fill Marchand’s void by committee.

    As if things weren’t bad enough, the Bruins returned to the ice for the third period without their captain.

    With the 3-0 deficit intact, the Bruins announced Marchand’s upper-body injury as they touched the ice for the final 20. Head coach Jim Montgomery did not reveal the extent of Marchand’s potential status during his postgame press conference.

    Marchand collided with a returning Sam Bennett near the Boston bench during the first period. The veteran winger didn’t miss a shift until departing for the locker room for the second intermission.

    Without Marchand, the Bruins rotated their forward personnel during the final frame. Not only did they miss Marchand’s competitive spirit on the ice, but they also had to fill his leadership void both on the bench and in the locker room.

    David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and the rest of the Bruins tried to replace Marchand’s influence by committee. They showed some pushback in the third to cut their 4-0 deficit in half. But their comeback bid went for naught following Friday’s slow start.

    “You know, I thought we rallied because of our captain,” Montgomery said. “I thought that Pasta and Charlie McAvoy did a great job with him not being on the bench. And I thought our players all elevated and we started competing like Brad Marchand would.”

    The Bruins were late finding their offensive stride.

    Coming off an eventful series opener, the Bruins picked up where they left off in Game 2 on Charlie Coyle’s first-period tally. But they could hardly sustain that offensive production after notching their sixth goal of the series.

    The Bruins left Swayman out to dry defensively on multiple occasions. Offensively, they struggled to possess pucks for extensive shifts in the attacking end against Florida’s tight-checking defensive structure.

    Over the next 80 minutes, the Bruins allowed the next 10 goals. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they fired a paltry 17 shots on net during that stretch.

    Unlike Game 2, the Bruins remained within striking distance on Friday. They had started building their game late in the second before Lohrei’s penalty and finally found a rhythm in the third. They showcased desperation to pull within two and nearly got within one after DeBrusk hit the crossbar late in regulation.

    “We had nothing to lose at the point, and we just went after it,” Lauko said. “So we need to be desperate like that for a whole 60 minutes.”

    The Bruins may have something to build after showing some fight in the final 20. But with or without their captain, they’ll need to showcase immediate urgency and improvements across the board as they face their first series deficit of the Montgomery regime.

    Boston’s reliable penalty kill has hit a rut.

    The Bruins didn’t receive the benefit of the doubt on a couple of calls against them, notably with a head-scratching interference infraction assessed to Lauko early in the third. Conversely, they didn’t do enough to earn a few whistles in their favor.

    The Bruins ran into penalty trouble for the second game in a row. As a result, Boston’s upper-echelon penalty kill units became vulnerable against a potent power play unit.

    The Panthers worked their way to the front of the net to create quality offensive looks with the man advantage — and 5v5 — while clogging up shooting lanes down the other end of the ice. Their effort on the power play exemplified that development following a 4-for-6 outing Friday night.


    “Definitely needing to be better at the net front there, myself especially,” defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “There were some problems there. They created some zone time when we didn’t get our clears. We want to get the puck down 200 feet when you can, but we’ll look at the video and try to learn from there.”

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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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