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Barkov scores twice, Panthers rout Bruins 6-1 in Game 2 to tie series

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers

May 8, 2024; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13), center Aleksander Barkov (16) and defenseman Niko Mikkola (77) fight against Boston Bruins center Morgan Geekie (39) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) during the third period in game two of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amerant Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida showed some fight, then got in some fights. And the Panthers were thrilled by all the outcomes.

Aleksander Barkov had two goals and two assists, Sam Reinhart added four assists and the Panthers beat the Boston Bruins 6-1 on Wednesday night to tie the second-round series at a game apiece.

Brandon Montour had a goal and two assists, and Steven Lorentz, Gustav Forsling and Eetu Luostarinen also scored for Florida. The Panthers chased Bruins starter Jeremy Swayman early in the third period after four straight goals, then added two more against Linus Ullmark.

“We did what we wanted to do,” Barkov said.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 14 saves for the Panthers. The five-goal margin matched Florida’s biggest in a playoff game, tying the mark set against Tampa Bay in another 6-1 victory April 29.

Charlie Coyle had the goal for the Bruins, who lost to Florida for the first time in six meetings this season. The series shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Friday night and Game 4 on Sunday night.

And it’s a series now — 146 penalty minutes getting handed out in the third period after multiple dustups created a narrative that will carry into Friday, highlighted by Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk getting several shots in on Boston’s David Pastrnak in a star-on-star showdown with the game already out of hand.

“You have two elite offensive players ... it gets a little spicy out there and they wanted to go,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “I thought it was awesome. When it was over, they both looked like they were fine. Sorry if anyone’s offended by that concept. I don’t care. I thought it was awesome.”

Pastrnak and Tkachuk both got 10-minute misconducts — making them the last two of 12 players to leave the game early because of scrums and scuffles.

“You had the spillovers in the third period because we did have emotion,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “A little undisciplined, but that’s part of playoff hockey.”

The Bruins felt like Tkachuk got an unnecessary shot or two in during the quick tussle with Pastrnak. Pastrnak’s reaction: “I’m not a very experienced fighter. I fell down. It’s on me.”

After the first 20 minutes, Florida was simply dominant. They didn’t even allow Boston a single shot on goal for a stretch of more than 16 minutes of game time, 53 minutes of actual time. Parker Wotherspoon sent the puck the full length of the ice with 5:08 left in the second, credited as a shot since it was right at Bobrovsky. The Bruins didn’t get another shot until Wotherspoon had one with 8:57 left in the third.

Swayman — who basically split time with Linus Ullmark during the regular season, getting 43 starts to Ullmark’s 39 — made his seventh consecutive start, the longest such run for a Boston goalie since Tuukka Rask made 11 straight starts to end the 2021-22 season.

Swayman did not make it to the finish, after Florida finally solved him in the second period. Swayman stopped 19 of 23 shots, his playoff goals-against average going from 1.42 to 1.81.

“Swayman was terrific,” Montgomery said. “I thought about taking him out at 3-1, going into the third. And when the fourth goal went in, I was like, ‘Well, I’m taking him out now.’ He made two great saves before it went in.”

Boston had not allowed more than one goal in any period so far in these playoffs and hadn’t given up three in a period in nearly two months — not since the New York Rangers struck for three in the third of a game on March 21, two of those being empty-netters. The Bruins hadn’t had a three-goals-allowed period with an actual goalie in net since March 16 against Philadelphia.

But the Panthers found a way. Lorentz tied it, Barkov scored off a rebound to make it 2-1 and then Forsling played beat-the-clock to push the lead to 3-1.

Montour got his glove on the puck to keep in a clearing attempt from the Bruins with about 7 seconds left. His shot from the right point sailed wide, Anton Lundell controlled the bounce off the end boards and found Forsling’s blast from the left side with 1.3 seconds left got past Swayman.

“You can’t stop what you can’t see and that goes for any goalie in the world,” Lorentz said. “He’s obviously a heck of a goalie and he’s played some great hockey here lately.”

The momentum carried into the third. It took Florida just 1:28 to make it 4-1, with Barkov setting up Luostarinen from in close for an easy one. That was the end of Swayman’s night, and the Panthers kept pouring it on from there.

“If you paid money to come to the rink tonight, you had a hell of a night,” Maurice said.