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Bruins cough up late lead, game to Panthers, 4-3 in OT


The Bruins are officially in a slump – at least according to 2022-23 Bruins’ standards.

For the first time this season, the B’s have lost two games in a row – and it was a painful way to the B’s give up that point of pride on Saturday at FLA Live Arena.

The B’s coughed up three leads – the last with less than two seconds left in regulation – and then Sam Reinhart won it 17 seconds into overtime to lift the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory.

The B’s were being thoroughly outplayed in the third period, but with a couple of minutes left, they turned it on. In the midst of a dominant shift, David Pastrnak changed on in time to take Matt Grzelcyk pass and bury his 38th of the year from the high slot, beating Alex Lyon with a wrister with 48.6 seconds left.

But the Panthers pulled Lyon right off the ensuing faceoff and they tied it up with 1.4 seconds left. The B’s could not get the puck out of the zone despite several opportunities to do so. It appeared as though Brandon Carlo would kill the clock as he protected the puck behind the net against the boards, but the Panthers dug it out and Sasha Barkov was able to beat Jeremy Swayman from the slot.

In OT, the B’s never touched the puck.

The B’s took a 2-1 lead into the third period but they could not hold it. Sam Bennett, who had inadvertently put a puck in his own net to give the B’s that lead, atoned at 8:29 of the third when he beat Jeremy Swayman on a wrist shot off the rush.

Midway through the first period, a hustling Patrice Bergeron turned what could have been a 2-on-1 against into a four-minute power play for the Bruins. Hampus Lindholm fell in the neutral zone and the Panthers suddenly had an odd-man rush. But before Sam Bennett could decide what to do with the puck, Bergeron zoomed in from behind to pilfer the puck, then took a high stick from Bennett that drew blood.

But on the four-minute PP, the B’s could do nothing, producing just one in-too-tight shot from David Pastrnak on the Panthers’ third string goalie Alex Lyon.

That kill should have given the Panthers some momentum, but they almost immediately shot themselves in the foot. Rushed by an A.J. Greer forecheck, Florida defenseman Brandon Montour handed the puck to Craig Smith at the top of the left circle. Smith, who’d been dropped to the fourth line, took a couple of strides to the middle and sizzled a wrister past Lyon’s blocker at 16:50. It was Smith’s third of the season and first in 10 games.

It wasn’t all good news in the first, as the B’s injury list grew by one. Trent Frederic suffered a lower body injury midway through the period and did not return.

The B’s were all over the Panthers in the early going in the second period, but Lyon made several big stops. They earned another PP, but while they got more pucks at Lyon this time, they still couldn’t get one by him.

And when the Panthers got their man back, they tied it up when the B’s Czech line got caught in deep in the offensive zone. Breaking out on a 3-on-2,Sasha Barkov sent a shot toward the net that Montour deflected past Jeremy Swayman.

The B’s believed they had recaptured the lead at 10:30 when it appeared David Krejci had nudged the puck over the line, but it was immediately waved off. The league initiated a review and, while it appeared that Givani Smith had pushed it over the goal line, Lyon’s glove shield the puck from view and he pulled it out. No goal.

But good fortune would finally shine on the B’s with 2:05 left in the period. From the right boards, Charlie Coyle tried to send an aerial pass over to the left wing, but Bennett, in trying to knock the puck down, directed it into his own net to give the B’s a 2-1 lead. Bennett put his hands to his helmet in disbelief, but Coyle was credited with his 11th goal.

The B’s held a 30-18 shot advantage through two periods, but just the slim one-goal lead.





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