Bruins-Panthers Game 7 takeaways: Florida ends B's season in 4-3 OT win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
BOSTON -- A historic Bruins season that was full of hope for another Stanley Cup run all came crashing down Sunday night.
The Florida Panthers pulled off a stunning upset of the Bruins with a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 7 at TD Garden to win this first-round playoff series and advance to Round 2.
The Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit and eventually took a 3-2 lead on David Pastrnak's goal at 4:11 of the third period, but the Panthers tied the score with 59 seconds left in regulation and won on Carter Verhaeghe's tally at 8:35 of the OT period.
Florida trailed 3-1 in the series but won three straight games. The Bruins had lost three consecutive games only once all season, in late January.
One of the most surprising aspects of this series was the Bruins' inability to win on home ice. They started the season with a record 14-game home win streak and finished with a league-leading 34-4-3 record at the Garden. But they lost three of four games at TD Garden in the series, including both Game 5 and Game 7 in overtime when they had a chance to eliminate Florida.
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Jeremy Swayman made his first start in net of the series for the Bruins and allowed four goals on 31 shots.
The Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy and set league records for the most wins and points of all time. But this team will mostly be remembered for losing shockingly early in the playoffs.
It's going to be a busy offseason for the Bruins. But before we look ahead to that, here are three takeaways from Bruins-Panthers Game 7.
1) Goaltending surprisingly hurt Bruins
Goaltending was the Bruins' biggest strength in the regular season. Linus Ullmark won the goalie triple crown by leading the league with 40 wins, a .938 save percentage and a 1.89 GAA. Swayman went 26-6-4 and ranked fourth among goalies with a .920 save percentage and a 2.27 GAA. Boston led the league in save percentage by a huge margin and allowed the fewest goals in all situations and 5-on-5.
Goaltending should've been a major advantage for the B's in this series, and instead it was a huge weakness.
Ullmark went 3-3 with a .896 save percentage and a 3.34 GAA in six starts. He gave up four or more goals in three of those matchups, including a season-high six allowed in a 7-5 defeat in Game 6.
Swayman played OK in Game 7 but wasn't spectacular. The first goal scored by Brandon Montour was a soft one to give up.
Aside from the turnovers, subpar goaltending for the Bruins was the most shocking development in this series. Boston gave up 3.71 goals per game after leading the league at 2.21 goals against per game in the regular season.
2) Turnovers proved fatal for Bruins
All four games the Bruins lost were highlighted by uncharacteristic giveaways that led directly to Panthers goals. Florida doubled its lead in the second period when Hampus Lindholm -- who had an awful series -- gave away the puck on a failed attempt to clear the zone up the left side boards. The Panthers made a few nice passes and Sam Reinhart beat Swayman.
Reinhart's goal was the eighth allowed by the Bruins within five seconds of a 5-on-5 turnover, which is double the amount of any other team in the playoffs, per NHL Network's Mike Kelly.
Dmitry Orlov was unable to clear the defensive zone shortly before the Panthers' tying goal late in the third period. The Panthers stopped his clearing attempt along the side boards, and not long after that the puck was in Boston's net.
A failure to clear puck and break out of the defensive zone was an enormous problem for the Bruins in this series. They were credited with 15 giveaways in Game 2 and 17 in Game 5. They were very sloppy with the puck, and when you do that against a fast, highly skilled team like the Panthers, you open the possibility of an upset.
3) Brandon Montour had the series of his life
Brandon Montour's 73 points ranked tied for fifth among defensemen in the regular season, and his 16 goals tied for the seventh-most. He is an offensive machine, and he helped drive the Panthers' scoring in this series.
Montour scored twice in Game 7. He opened the scoring at 12:23 of the first period. He skated hard to the net, took a pass from Anton Lundell and beat Swayman five-hole.
Montour tied the game 3-3 with 59 seconds remaining in regulation when his shot to the right of Swayman found its way into the net.
Montour finished the series with eight points (five goals, three assists) and 22 shots on net. His five goals are tied for the third-most ever by a defenseman in one playoff series. Montour was especially productive when Florida needed it most with three goals and one assist over the last two games.