Bruins drop sloppy Game 2 to Panthers


Following a 6-1 loss, the Bruins will have to channel their fighting energy for a bounce-back Game 3 on Friday night.

Florida Panthers center Steven Lorentz scores a goal beating Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman during second period action in game two. Photo by Matthew J Lee/Globe Staff

SUNRISE, Fla. — For the first time this postseason, the Boston Bruins succumbed to game management lapses.

Jim Montgomery witnessed his team take a 1-0 lead in the first period after Charlie Coyle completed a tic-tac-goal that involved Brad Marchand and Pavel Zacha following Brandon Montour’s turnover along the walls.

Instead of building on that early lead, the second-year Boston bench boss watched his team self-inflict itself in the middle 20.

The Bruins struggled to clear pucks out of their defensive end throughout Wednesday’s outing. The opportunistic Panthers pounced, beginning with Steven Lorentz’s tip in front of the net just 1:56 into the middle frame.

Selke Trophy candidate Aleksander Barkov put Florida ahead for good after beating a stickless Charlie McAvoy to a rebound for his first of two tallies on the evening.

As the middle frame progressed, the Bruins encountered turnovers, defensive coverage breakdowns, and penalty trouble — highlighted by yet another too-many-men blunder. Their mistakes all compiled into one when Gustav Forsling blasted his first tally of the playoffs past Jeremy Swayman with under two ticks remaining in the second.

Another breakdown led to Eetu Luostarinen pouncing on the doorstep to end Swayman’s night early in the third.

Amid a sloppy performance, the Bruins showcased some fight in the final 20, highlighted by David Pastrnak’s fight with Matthew Tkachuk. But they’ll need to channel that energy and produce a bounce-back outing as the series shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Friday night.

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins’ 6-1 loss in Game 2.

Second period breakdowns doom the Bruins.

Coming off emotional highs in their Game 7 win over Toronto and Game 1 triumph against Florida, the Bruins appeared to have a foundation after cashing in on Coyle’s tally during a heavy-hitting opening 20.

Instead, they completely unraveled.

The Bruins panicked against Florida’s aggressive forecheck, beginning with miscommunication on Lorentz’s marker. Several minutes later, McAvoy lost his stick en route to Barkov’s go-ahead tally.

Boston’s shorthanded unit survived a couple of hectic sequences. They killed off the first penalty with Brandon Carlo in the box as McAvoy remained in the room for facial repairs, then overcame their fifth too-many-men penalty of the playoffs.

“It falls on me in the end,” Montgomery said. “We know of the people who’s up [in the lineup], and they’re making mistakes. So my clarity on who’s up is obviously failing our team.”

The failures continued after Boston’s fifth second too many men infraction of the series. Within a 1:30 span between the second and third frames, the Panthers put things out of reach.

Swayman was hung out to dry as Linus Ullmark made a relief appearance.

The Bruins encountered multiple rocky outings over the latter half of the Toronto series. But Swayman’s poise and assertiveness kept Boston’s hopes alive and eventually provided him with enough offensive support.

Aside from Coyle’s tally, the Bruins didn’t provide any support for their fourth-year netminder.

Amid Boston’s sloppy outing, Montgomery gave his workhorse an early breather after yanking Swayman at the 1:28 mark of the third following Lustorainen’s marker.

“I trust that guy with my life,” Swayman said of Montgomery pulling the plug. “He’s gonna make decisions that is going to help the team. And all I can say is I can’t wait for [Game 3] Friday.”

Ullmark, in his first appearance since Game 2 against the Leafs, didn’t fare any better. The Swede stopped eight of 10 shots in his 18:32 of spot duty, allowing a power play marker to Barkov and Montour’s shorthanded tally.

It didn’t matter who was in net. The Bruins simply didn’t have any juice from an execution standpoint. But despite Wednesday’s blowout, they wouldn’t go away quietly.

Pastrnak showed no fear against Tkachuk.

With Game 1 out of reach, the Panthers went into message-sending mode during the final 20.

In Game 2, they overwhelmed the Bruins physically and mentally. But amid their worst performance of these playoffs, the B’s attempted to stand their ground.

Following Pat Maroon’s game misconduct, the hostilities rose again when Mountour mocked Marchand after his tally at 11:58 of the final frame. In total, the two teams combined for 12 misconducts in the final 20.

But the most notable tense exchange came a mere 44 seconds after Montour’s tally when Pastrnak exchanged in a scrap with Tkachuk.

“There are two teams that are rivals, you know,” Montgomery said. “It’s gonna be a series. And what I’m really proud of I’m proud of Pasta, because there’s so many guys out there pushing after whistle, and the linesmen are there. Pasta and Tkachuk, they just went out there and let it fly. That’s what you like. You like your hockey players to be competitors.”

The two combatants discussed their plans for fighting as the officials sorted out the round of misconducts from the Montour exchange with Marchand. Both accepted the bout on the ensuing shift. Pastrnak landed some contact before Tkachuk finished his takedown with a couple of extra blows after the fact.

“When you’re in the game, it’s a lot of emotions,” Pastrnak said of his bout with Tkachuk. “I’m not afraid of him, to be honest. I can take a punch, and I’d do anything for these guys here.”

Indeed, Pastrnak and the Bruins took exception to Tkachuk’s extra punch. And they also didn’t take too kindly to some of the other hostile moments from the ninth playoff matchup with Florida over the last two seasons.

The heightened emotions will likely carry over into Game 3. But the Bruins need to channel that energy into productivity in order to regain control of the series.

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