The Bruins’ 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff campaign is off and running following a 3-1 victory in Game One against Florida on Monday night. Linus Ullmark led the way, saving thirty-one of thirty-two shots, and three different goal scorers chipped in to give the B’s an early series advantage.
The day did not start on the right foot for Boston.
Hours before the puck drop, it was reported that there was an illness in the locker room, and several players were doubtful. Patrice Bergeron was scratched for the bug, but Linus Ullmark fought through it and performed admirably.
Matt Grzelcyk was a healthy scratch for the game, making way for Derek Forbort’s return following an injury—an unexpected twist from the previously predicted playoff lineup.
Pavel Zacha stepped up to fill Bergeron’s role on the top line, and Tyler Bertuzzi was bumped to the second line as a result of the lineup mix. Both forwards factored on the scoresheet, with Bertuzzi providing a backhand feed from the slot to Pastrnak for the opening goal just six minutes in.
Zacha would assist on Boston’s third goal, as both he and Bertuzzi would throw the puck on the net before Jake DeBrusk whacked it in off Florida goalie Alex Lyon’s pads.
Lyon came into the playoffs red hot, having won six of nine starts with a .930 Save % and 2.23 Goals Against since taking over the net in March. He made several big saves early on but gifted Boston’s second goal after whiffing on a soft Brad Marchand wrister.
The goal turned out to be the 50th of Marchand’s playoff career.
Florida controlled play for a large part of the game, at one point holding a double-digit shot advantage over the Bruins.
Their early lack of discipline proved to be a hinderance, as they took two penalties within the first five minutes. The second of which allowed Pastrnak to put Boston ahead. Matthew Tkachuk cashed in on a bad net-front giveaway by Dmitry Orlov briefly after Marchand scored to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Panthers otherwise were unable to solve Ullmark.
Game Two will be back at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Photo: Brian Fluharty: USA TODAY Sports