NHL Playoffs: Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins Game 1 Recap | 05/06/2024

Okposo takes a shot toward Swayman. PHOTO BY JOEL AUERBACH /Getty Images North America

It was a big question as to how the Florida Panthers were going to play in Game 1. Would the time off be beneficial, or would it be more of a detriment if the team was not in a rhythm? That question got answered in a big way Monday night; the time off was detrimental to the team’s rhythm, even if it’s been good for injury recovery. The Panthers were undisciplined on defense which led to a multitude of turnovers that would come back to bite the team. The power play was slow in puck movement and decision-making, as was the team as a whole. Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom, the Panthers generated more shots on goal as well as being the better team in the faceoff circle. All in all, it wasn’t a good game for the Cats, but thankfully, it’s just Game 1 of a seven-game series.

Related Post: Three Takeaways From The Boston Bruins Game 1 Victory Over the Florida Panthers

Undisciplined and Turnovers:

It was pretty clear from period one that the Panthers hadn’t played in a bit. It was the same type of struggle that happened right after the All-Star break, where the Cats lost their first game back and simply got outworked by Philadelphia. Florida’s defense didn’t look nearly as good as what was on display in round one against the Lightning. Uncharacteristic turnovers plagued the team for the entire match, but especially in the second period, it hurt the Panthers. They only gave up seven shots, but three went in for goals, and each of those plays came off turnovers in the defensive zone. Florida also didn’t get nearly enough traffic in front of Swayman, who’s the best goaltender in the Playoffs right now. They also weren’t able to finish off a couple of plays that would have led to more goals, including one where Barkov had an open net, but the puck bounced off the wrong part of his stick and ended up going behind the net. The turnovers are the most glaring issue that the Panthers need to clean up before Game 2.

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Power Play Needs Work:

There was a stretch of time where the power play nearly equated to an automatic goal from Sam Reinhart. Unfortunately, due to that success, teams have keyed in on him in the slot and have anywhere from 3 guys to the whole penalty kill unit on him. That said, Reinhart still got a good chance Monday night during one of the three power plays the Panthers got. Verhaeghe, Montour, Tarasenko, and Tkachuk all had chances on the power play but no one was able to bury it into the net. Florida struggled to enter the zone on the man advantage, and Boston was more than content to just keep clearing the puck down the ice. With both teams being good 5v5, special teams could be the difference maker in this series so if Florida can get more going on the power play or even get chances short-handed, that could give them an extra edge. Matthew Tkachuk said in his post-game interview that he thought that the power play was slow, with slow entry and slow decision-making, and that’s something they can improve for Game 2.

Positive Part of the Cats’ Game:

Amid the flurry of issues the Panthers had Monday night, there were two to three parts of their game that went well. They were better in the faceoff circle, winning 44 faceoffs to Boston’s 31. This shouldn’t be surprising given that all of Florida’s main faceoff players have a FO% of 50.7 or higher, while Boston’s best FO% tops out at 50.9 while the lowest got down to 39.8 in round one. The Panthers also had more SOG with 39 to the Bruins’ 29. The Cats pushed hard, but the Boston defense also blocked 26 shots, while Florida only blocked 11. That’s the fewest blocked shots the Panthers have had all playoffs, with the next lowest being 12 in their opening match against Tampa Bay. The other good thing is that there wasn’t a significant dip in the Cats’ physicality from round one to round two. Florida still had 54 even while Boston had 69, that’s on par with the numbers from Game 2 against the Lightning. It’s also not worth it being worried about Boston having more hits on Florida, Tampa had more hits in four out of the five games. As long as the Panthers are in the ballpark of the same number, they’re hanging on par with their opponent. Florida’s done a good job of responding after a loss this season, ignoring the end of the regular season where they consistently weren’t playing their best and were trying to get to the Playoffs as healthy as possible. Game 2 is set for Wednesday night at 7:30 pm EST/6:30 pm CT.

Season 3. Episode 49. Prospects Rankings 26-30 Bruins Benders Podcast

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  1. Season 3. Episode 49. Prospects Rankings 26-30
  2. Season 3. Episode 48. Arbitration Deadline
  3. Season 3. Episode 47. Free Agency Begins
  4. Season 3. Episode 46. Draft Night
  5. Season 3. Episode 45. After the Hugs Are Gone

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