Florida Panthers Can’t Protect a Lead; But What Else is New?

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 07: Boston Bruins center David Backes (42) was successful in screening Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (1) as the puck goes in during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers on March 7, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 07: Boston Bruins center David Backes (42) was successful in screening Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (1) as the puck goes in during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers on March 7, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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In yet another game, the Florida Panthers proved that no matter how many times you take the lead, it just isn’t safe when it’s with the Cats.

Surprisingly enough, the Florida Panthers started the game off strong, matching the Bruins’ intensity in the opening few minutes.

There were times when the Bruins were becoming impossible to handle, yet the Panthers didn’t break at the slightest.

Florida continued chipping away and found the game’s opening goal early in the second on the man advantage. Captain Aleksander Barkov tipped Keith Yandle’s point shot, recording his 29th of the season.

It wasn’t long after until his partner in crime, Jonathan Huberdeau, found the back of the net for his 19th of the year. Coming on the power play like Barkov’s, Huberdeau whacked at a puck out of mid-air, which trickled past Tuukka Rask.

From there, the Panthers were cruising and it seemed as if they were finally going to snap their losing streak. But of course, the Bruins weren’t going to let them off that easy, as they quickly turned their fortunes around.

Halfway through the second, David Krejci put the Bruins on the board. Coming from a turnover in their (FLA’s) own zone, Danton Heinen fed an open Krejci on the side, who calmly and collectively slotted the puck into the empty side of the cage.

In the third, the Panthers were on the power play, gunning to regain their two-goal lead. Instead, the opposite occurred and the lead was suddenly gone.

After receiving a pass from Charlie McAvoy before entering the zone, Patrice Bergeron walked in untouched and fired a shot off Luongo’s arm and in. The Bruins instantly found life and their entire arena abruptly exploded with excitement.

But thanks to Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers didn’t have to wait long to regain their lead. Huberdeau walked in alone, spun around unexpectedly, and fired a shot through Tuukka Rask’s five-hole to give Florida new life.

But of course, no lead is safe when you’re dealing with the Florida Panthers. And that statement remained true throughout the remainder of the third.

With about 36 seconds remaining in the third and on the man advantage, the Bruins pulled their netminder to give themselves a brief 6-on-4.

As their power play was set to expire, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk one-timed a shot on goal, which hit off the crossbar and deflected off Luongo’s skate and in. Heartbreaking? You haven’t seen anything, yet.

In the dying seconds of the final frame, Patrice Bergeron came up clutch for his side and put the game to bed with 6 seconds remaining.

As three Panther players get caught puck-watching in the corner, Brad Marchand feeds Patrice Bergeron in the slot, who then rips home the game-winning goal.

The Boston Bruins would end up taking this game 4-3 in regulation, extending the Panthers’ losing streak to six games.

Ultimately, the Panthers have shown that they’re incapable of hanging onto leads, regardless of how big or small they may be.

Even with all they’ve been through this season, this hockey game right here was a winnable game and one they should’ve had in the bag before the start of the third.

Head Coach Bob Boughner noted that this was the most disappointing loss of the year. And, in hindsight, he really isn’t wrong.

Although, no matter how you may try to spin this one, there’s no one else but to blame but the players themselves for this one.

Next. Are the Florida Panthers Mismanaging Henrik Borgstrom?. dark

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