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5 Takeaways: Panthers' Rally Falls Short in Loss to Bruins

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

12/14/19 Post Game Interviews

12/14/19 Post Game Interviews

Interviews with Head Coach Joel Quenneville, forward Jonathan Huberdeau and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

  • 01:10 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers came close to doing it again.

Trailing 3-0 entering the third period, the Panthers scored twice but inevitably had their comeback fall shot in a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at BB&T Center on Saturday night.

On Nov. 12, Florida erased a four-goal deficit to win 5-4 in a shootout at Boston.

"I didn't see [desperation] until the third," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "We got a little excited when we scored and then all of the sudden we were thinking about the last time we saw them. It was one of those games where the top guys were really good. We didn't get the same."

The Bruins jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 14:41 of the first period on a goal from Jake DeBrusk, who beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a breakaway after jumping on a turnover in the offensive zone.

In the second, David Krejci extended the lead to 2-0 when he buried a one-timer at 3:14. Just a few minutes later, David Pastrnak tapped in a goal on the man advantage to make it 3-0 at 7:30.

"We knew they were a good team and we didn't come out in the first," Huberdeau said. "Obviously we're a team that doesn't give up. That's what we did in the third. I just think we have to start better and play a better overall game."

Coming out hot to start the third, Mark Pysyk got the Panthers on the board just 2:46 into the final frame when he beat Jaroslav Halak cut the deficit to 3-1. Feeding off that energy, Keith Yandle kept hope alive when he scored a long one-timer from the point to make it 3-2 at 9:13.

But with 2:10 remaining in regulation, Pastrnak secured the 4-2 final with an empty-net goal.

Halak finished with 31 saves, while Bobrovsky made 38. "We have to step back and do the little things, just the simple things and go from there - reset, regroup," Bobrovsky said. "Just make the right plays at the right time and chip away. It's a long season. We can't allow ourselves to go too down. We have to be consistent emotionally and keep playing and working hard."

With the win, the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins improved to 21-7-6 and snapped a five-game skid. The Panthers, meanwhile, fell to 15-12-5, but are still just one point out of a playoff spot.

"We knew that it was going to be a hard game," Quenneville said. "[Boston] is a good hockey team. We needed everything to be right tonight, and we didn't get enough."

Here are five takeaways from Saturday's loss in Sunrise…

1. PYSYK POUNCES

Playing at forward tonight, defenseman Mark Pysyk gave the Panthers a spark.

Pouncing on a rebound near the top of the crease after a shot from Aaron Ekblad, Pysyk lifted the puck over Halak with his backhand to cut Florida's deficit to 3-1 at 2:46 of the third period.

Video: BOS@FLA: Pysyk cleans up in front to trim deficit

Initially making the move up from the blue line to the wing on Oct. 18, Pysyk has competed in a handful of the games at forward this season. In 23 total games, the 27-year-old has registered two goals and two assists, with both of those goals coming while he was playing as a winger.

Against the Bruins, Pysyk was deployed on a line with Noel Acciari and Colton Sceviour.

2. YANDLE FROM DISTANCE

Yandle brought the crowd to its feet and the Panthers within one goal on this play.

Set up near the left boards just below the blue line, the 33-year-old defenseman took a pass from Vincent Trocheck and one-timed a shot through traffic that pinged off the far post and into the net to trim the deficit down to 3-2 with just a little over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

Video: BOS@FLA: Yandle's shot from point goes in off post

His fourth goal of the season, Yandle also ranks second among the league's defenseman in assists (24) and power-play points (15). Leading Florida's blueliners and ranking third overall on the team with 28 points, he's tallied two goals and eight assists over his last eight contests.

With a goal and an assist tonight, he recorded his eighth multi-point game of the season.

3. KEEPING IT CLOSE

Once again, Bobrovsky kept the Panthers within striking distance.

Making his fifth straight start, the 31-year-old netminder made 38 saves - including 21 in the first period alone - to help make tonight's attempted comeback possible. Over his 38 saves, nine were made on shots coming from high-danger areas, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

"Guys helped me too," Bobrovsky said. "I felt good there. I felt comfortable. From my standpoint, I just have to build up from it. Build emotionally, physically and keep going."

Video: BOS@FLA: Bobrovsky stones Pastrnak, Bergeron

Trailing 3-1 with 13:31 left in the third period, Bobrovsky stoned Pastrnak on a penalty shot.

"I thought it brought a little energy and the building was loud," Bobrovsky said of the play. Playing his best hockey of the season as of late, Bobrovsky has now stopped 174 of 183 shots (.951 percent) over his last five starts. In his first season with Florida, he owns an 11-9-4 record. "He was great," Quenneville said. "He was very good. Excellent."

4. TWO TO GO

Florida's franchise-record homestand is nearing its end.

With seven down and two left to play in Sunrise, the team will host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars on Friday before packing their bags for a two-game road trip.

After tonight's loss, the Panthers now own a 3-4-0 record on the homestand.

"We've just got to keep things simple, come back to the basics," said Huberdeau, who leads Florida in scoring with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists). "We know we can do it. We've just got to refocus, take the day tomorrow to work on some things and then come back on Monday."

The Panthers own a 9-7-2 record at home this season.

5. A HOLIDAY SURPRISE

There are some things that are bigger than sports.

Returning from his second deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. Navy Lt. Victorio Fazzino surprised his wife, Melony, and 11-year-old daughter, Alexandra, during the first period of tonight's game.

Already half-season ticket holders, the Fazzinos were moved up to glass seats prior to the big surprise after being told they'd won a seat upgrade from Coca-Cola. But just after the second TV timeout of the night, Victorio came down the stairs and an emotional reunion soon ensued.

Alexandra said having her father home was exactly what she wished for this Christmas.

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