Spencer Knight made 37 saves for the Florida Panthers, who ended the Boston Bruins’ seven-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday.
“Every goalie likes to feel a lot of pucks,” Knight said. “But I’ve learned how to play in all situations, whether I’m facing one shot a period or 20. It doesn’t really matter at this point. It gets you into the game, but at the same time, I mean, every team is so good and you can’t be comfortable.”
Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad each had a goal and two assists for Florida (10-8-2), which got its first win in four games. Sam Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist.
“I think it built over the course of the game,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “We were better [in the] second and third period, for sure. [Boston’s] a dangerous team, playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. … Spencer Knight was really strong in the first period, and you get that good feeling by your goaltender, and I think we really fed off that.”
Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak scored, and Jeremy Swayman made 24 saves for Boston (17-3-0).
“We were pretty dominant in the first,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “And then the second, the other part of our game that needs to be better is turnovers. We made too many turnovers at the offensive blue line that didn’t allow us to get to our game.”
Reinhart gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead on the power play at 1:49 of the first period. On a give-and-go, Tkachuk drew Swayman out on the right side before sending the puck back to Reinhart with the net open.
“I was concerned about the start because Florida always starts really well,” Montgomery said. “Oddly enough, I thought our start was really good. We took that penalty and that kind of took away from some things.”
McAvoy tied it 1-1 at 17:14 on a 5-on-3 slap shot from the high slot. McAvoy briefly exited earlier in the period after colliding with Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe and the end boards.
Anton Lundell gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead at 4:41 of the second period, beating Swayman blocker side from the left circle off a cross-ice feed from Nick Cousins.
“They’re a good team, high offensive power,” Swayman said. “Obviously, I was wanting to make some saves in a timely [manner], but they definitely capitalized, so want to learn from that and definitely take the positives and move forward.”
Barkov pushed it to 3-1 at 15:31 of the second on the power play, redirecting Brandon Montour‘s point shot.
“We haven’t been winning [as many] games as we want to,” Barkov said. “At the same time, I think it’s about building the game, and feeling more and more comfortable on the ice and later in the season. … Right now, especially, we need to win some games, and against Boston, it was [a] huge one.”
Tkachuk made it 4-1 at 19:46 with a power-play redirection from Swayman’s right post, extending his goal streak to four games.
“[Tkachuk’s] got one of those unusual set of hands that within two or three feet of the net, he gets a stick on everything,” Maurice said.
Pastrnak cut it to 4-2 at 6:20 of the third period on another 5-on-3 goal for Boston from the high slot. An apparent Charlie Coyle goal at 16:06 was waved off for a hand pass.
Florida went 3-for-7 on the man advantage; Boston was 2-for-6.
“We’ve been a little undisciplined this year, and it bit us in the butt tonight,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said.
Ekblad scored into an empty net from his own blue line, his 100th NHL goal, at 17:50 for the 5-2 final.
“Being here in front of our fans makes a huge difference for us,” Ekblad said. “We’ve kind of been snake-bitten recently, haven’t gotten the wins we really wanted and really felt like we deserved, so tonight’s a good quality effort from…