Panthers put away Bruins in Game 6 on Gustav Forsling's late goal

League: NHL

Posted on: 18 May, 2024 at 04:33 AM

Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It took a grueling six-game effort and withstanding the Boston Bruins' attempted comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to get the job done, but the Florida Panthers found a way to advance into the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight year.

Gustav Forsling's rebound goal with 1:33 left in regulation lifted the Panthers to a 2-1, series-clinching win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday in Boston.

According to center Anton Lundell, the Panthers will be on a high entering best-of-seven conference finals against the Rangers, a set that will begin on Wednesday in New York.

"I think we're a very confident group. We're trying to keep it loose and enjoy the moment," Lundell said. "Everyone really stepped up at the right time. (Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky) was there when we needed him, made a couple huge saves that kept us in it."

Lundell had his initial shot stopped by Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman (26 saves), but from the left side, Forsling slipped the loose puck inside the near post for the deciding goal.

"I'm not usually the guy that scores the game-winning goal," Forsling said. "It's fun to score and help the team, but I'll stick to defense."

Lundell finished with a goal and an assist after scoring the tying tally at 12:44 of the second, helping the Panthers to their sixth straight playoff win at TD Garden.

Pavel Zacha scored Boston's lone goal.

Bobrovsky made 22 saves for Florida, including nine in the third period.

After a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the series, the Bruins scored no more than two goals in any game.

"I didn't sense frustration, but the lack of our ability to score in the playoffs in general (was a key factor)," Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. "You can't win every game 2-1."

The Panthers, however, have appeared comfortable in such situations.

"At our core, we're a pretty good defensive team and we have Sergei Bobrovsky," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. "At (a 1-1 score), we're comfortable there."

Bruins captain Brad Marchand returned to the lineup following a two-game absence caused by an upper-body injury, providing what Montgomery called a "huge lift."

After the Bruins were unable to clear a shot blocked by Jake DeBrusk, Lundell picked up a loose puck in the slot and unleashed a dart to beat Swayman and tie the game in the middle frame.

"He's playing a different game now than I've ever seen him play," Maurice said of Lundell, who finished the series with two multi-point efforts in three games.

A roller-coaster first period saw the Bruins post the first four shots on goal before a span of 14:11 without one, but Zacha buried the opening goal -- the first of his 25-game playoff career -- with 52.8 seconds left to make it 1-0.

DeBrusk continued his strong playmaking run with a dish off the neutral-zone wall to spring Zacha for the breakaway, which he brought to his backhand and slipped under the crossbar.

Bobrovsky came up with several key saves in the second period that allowed his Panthers to tie the game, including denying Justin Brazeau's one-timer on the same shift as Lundell's goal.

Florida looked to take a 2-1 lead in the opening minute of the third. Brandon Montour took a slapper from the right point that Swayman initially thought beat him through the five-hole, but the Boston netminder had the puck behind his pads after it clanked off the post.

Bobrovsky made another important stop eight minutes into the final frame, keeping out Charlie McAvoy's driving attempt to the crease.

Neither team could cash in on a power-play attempt late in the third period, which included 22 overlapping seconds of four-on-four action.

--Field Level Media