May 26th, 2024

Swayman helps Bruins edge Panthers 2-1 to stave off playoff elimination

By Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press on May 14, 2024.

Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Peeke (52) collides with Florida Panthers centre Kevin Stenlund (82) and right wing Kyle Okposo (8) during the first period of Game 5 of the second-round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Jeremy Swayman backed up his victory vow with 28 saves, Charlie McAvoy added to the list of disputed goals in this matchup with the go-ahead marker and the Boston Bruins staved off elimination by beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 in Game 5 of their NHL playoff series on Tuesday night.

Morgan Geekie also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 2-0 in elimination games this season – they also won a Game 7 over Toronto in Round 1 – and finally found a way to hold the Panthers’ offence in check.

Sam Reinhart scored for Florida, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots.

Florida – which saw its series lead cut to 3-2 – had 15 goals on 107 shots in Games 2, 3 and 4 combined, all of them Panthers wins. But on Tuesday, the Panthers were held to 29 shots and Swayman looked in total control the whole way.

Game 6 is in Boston on Friday. Game 7, if necessary, would be back in Florida on Sunday.

“The reality is that we’re going to go to Florida and we’re going to play the same game and we’re going to get it done,” Swayman said after Game 4. “I have no doubt in this group. And we have a lot of confidence and a lot of motivation to bring it back to Boston.”

It’s going back to Boston.

Bobrovsky was pulled with 3:05 left, Florida going 6-on-5 in an effort to tie the game but managed to get only three pucks to Swayman the rest of the way.

The Bruins played the second straight game without their captain and leading scorer Brad Marchand, who hasn’t been on the ice since late in the second period of Game 3 because of what Boston is calling an upper-body injury. He was hit by Florida’s Sam Bennett and wound up leaving that game, a play that the Bruins said was dirty and has only added to the intensity of the series.

Down 1-0 in the second, Panthers coach Paul Maurice gathered his team around the Florida bench during a TV timeout and used that stoppage in play to get some thoughts out – at high volume. Red-faced by the time his rant was over, Maurice was pointing animatedly and had the attention of everyone from players to assistant coaches to even the team’s equipment staff.

Message received. Only 11 seconds after play resumed, Reinhart lifted a rebound past Swayman to tie the game at 1-1.

But Boston had the lead again when the second period ended, after McAvoy scored a goal midway through the frame where Florida – just like the Bruins did on a big goal for the Panthers in Game 4 – claimed interference.

Boston’s Danton Heinen made contact with Bobrovsky with his stick, but NHL officials in Toronto said it wasn’t enough to take the goal off the board.

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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