Brad Marchand had the game on his stick.

In the dying seconds of regulation, the Bruins’ stalwart winger broke through the Florida defense from center ice with a clean look at goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Had he scored, not only would the roof of TD Garden blast into space, but he would’ve sent Florida packing for the summer.

Instead, Bobrovsky made the save just before the horn sounded and sent the game to overtime.

Six minutes into overtime, Carter Verhaeghe forced a turnover behind the net and fed Matthew Tkachuk to extend the series. Despite once again not playing their best at home, it was a game Boston had their chances to win.

The Bruins outshot Florida 47-25, won 48/77 faceoffs, and drew five power plays, scoring on two of them.

However, in a repeat of Game 2, defensive lapses cost them dearly.

Florida scored first when Anthony Duclair converted the rebound following a slot chance from Verhaeghe off an errant pass by Tyler Bertuzzi.

Boston’s offense would struggle to find a rhythm until Jim Montgomery reunited the Bergeron line in the second period. On the power play, Marchand would follow his own rebound behind Bobrovsky and tie the game.

The Bruins would continue to pelt Bobrovsky throughout the period to no avail, but Florida would regain the advantage late.

Verhaeghe found Sam Bennett alone in the slot to roof the puck over Ullmark’s glove with just over a minute to go.

Boston would tie the game on the power play again early in the third. Patrice Bergeron, making his series debut, deflected Marchand’s wrist shot home just five seconds into the man advantage.

Florida retook the lead once again less than a minute later. On a power play of their own, Sam Reinhart ripped a feed from Matt Tkachuk, beating Ullmark’s high glove side again.

The Bruins would draw level for the third time on Taylor Hall’s fifth goal of the series.

Hall scavenged the loose puck from a pile of Panthers in the slot, backed up, and beat Bobrovsky’s top left.

The score would hold through the last ten minutes, through a Florida Too Many Men Penalty and Marchand’s late breakaway. 

Boston had the lion’s share of the chances in overtime, but Verhaeghe & Tkachuk pounced on their self-inflicted errors to stave off elimination.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Bruins regressed to their sloppy and disconnected form in Game Two form and away from the composed and confident group that won both games in Sunrise. They had 17 total turnovers in Game Five, compared to 19 in Games Three and Four combined. 
  • Coach Montgomery voiced his frustration postgame, saying, “We tend to make big mistakes right now; I don’t know why.”
  • For all the attention Matt Tkachuk has (rightfully) gotten, Carter Verhaeghe is just as much a problem. Verhaeghe assisted on three of Florida’s goals in Game Five and has five points in the series.
  • Having Bergeron back in the lineup should significantly improve the team’s defense, which at times, has been under siege. Ullmark, to this point, is outperforming both Florida goaltenders but is still far from his Vezina-caliber form.

Game six will be Friday night at 7:30 ET from Sunrise, Florida


Photo: Charles Krupa / AP

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