BOSTON – The Florida Panthers haven’t been giving the opposition much to work with.

Owning a 2-1 series lead over the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Second Round, they’ve allowed a combined three goals and 32 shots on goal during their lopsided wins in Games 2 and 3.

With a chance to take a 3-1 series lead and push the Bruins to the brink of elimination in Game 4 on Sunday at TD Garden, the plan for the Panthers is to simply keep doing more of the same.

“We’re keeping them to a low shot count, limiting their scoring chances,” Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov said of the team’s approach. “That’s been really good for us.”

Over the last two games, Florida has led 40-20 in scoring chances at 5-on-5.

Also strong on special teams, they’ve gone 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in that span.

“I think the special teams has been really good,” Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen said. “We’re just trying to out-work them on the PK, block shots and do whatever we can. … I think we’ve been better in the D zone. We’ve kept them under 20 shots in the last two games.”

Taking a look at Game 3, it was the power play that turned the tide.

With the Panthers leading 1-0 on an early goal from Evan Rodrigues in the first period, they pulled away late in the second after a high stick led to a lethal four-minute trip to the man advantage in which Vladimir Tarasenko and Carter Verhaeghe both scored to make it 3-0.

Just 3:09 into the third, Brandon Montour struck again on the power play to make it 4-0.

From there, the Bruins made a push and cut their deficit in half when Jakub Lauko and Jake DeBrusk lit the lamp to make it 4-2 with over 10 minutes left. But after Sam Reinhart made it 5-2 with an empty-net goal, Rodrigues tacked on another power-play goal to lock in the 6-2 win.

In the win, the Panthers finished 4-for-6 with the extra attacker.

“I think we just continued doing what we do best, just compete hard and play hard,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “The game plan that we have, we obviously executed well. The power play came up big. We defended well. That was a good win.”

The Panthers also received a big boost in the win with the return of Sam Bennett.

Moving back into his regular spot in the center of the second line, Bennett, who’d been out since Game 2 of the first round with an upper-body injury, got to work right away in his first game back, finishing with an assist and seven hits – many of them big – to help set the tone.

Per head coach Paul Maurice, the Panthers won’t make any lineup changes for Game 4.

That means that Sergei Bobrovsky will be back between the pipes.

With the Panthers keeping Boston's offense in check, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner has been challenged with trying to find a rhythm in games that really haven’t had much due to there being very long stretches without shots coming his way.

But thanks to his experience, he’s built to excel in any situation.

“I believe that he has a mental program that he’s running in those long stretches of time because he’s done it before,” Maurice said. “He has some things … he’s so routine in what he does, he would have a routine in the net for staying sharp and staying mentally alert.”

Across the ice, the Bruins have several question marks.

Injured while trying to lay out Bennett with a big hit early in Game 3, Bruins captain Brad Marchand has been ruled out for Game 4 with an upper-body injury. While nothing about the collision was said after the game, social media has turned it into quite a controversy.

That said, the Panthers are just focused on their game and not getting caught up in it.

As usual the Bruins also haven’t announced their starting goaltender for Game 4. After going seven straight playoff games allowing two or fewer goals, Jeremy Swayman has surrendered nine goals over his last two starts and was pulled during the loss in Game 2.

If they decide to shake things up, 2023 Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, who gave up two goals on 10 shots during his relief appearance in Game 2, could possibly get the nod.

With no goals and just two assists through the first three games of the series, the Bruins are also still trying to find a way to activate star winger David Pastrnak. Moving around in Game 3, the Czech sniper played at least one minute at 5-on-5 with seven different forwards.

There’s also a chance the Bruins roll with seven defensemen with Marchand being out.

Looking to take a 3-1 series lead back home, the Panthers are ready to rock.

"The atmosphere is great here,” Barkov said. “Great city. Great sports city. They love their sports. To play here is a great atmosphere. Not too many people cheering for us, but we can take that as a challenge. We do that. It comes from this room. We're ready to play."


Goals: Verhaeghe (6)

Assists: Tkachuk (9)

Points: Tkachuk (13)

Hits: Reinhart (30)

Blocks: Forsling (16)


Goals: DeBrusk (5)

Assists: Marchand (7)

Points: Marchand (10)

Hits: Coyle (44)

Blocks: McAvoy (24)


“It’s almost been identical, the scoring pattern of it. I don’t view this as we scored a whole bunch of goals. When you’re up 1-0 or down 1-0, it doesn’t feel like you’re scoring very much. It’s not like we’ve seen a game where from the start of the game until the end, both teams had a ton of chances.” -- Paul Maurice on the nature of the series

“He’s always been a big player for this team. He carries the team. He’s strong in all areas of the game. He’s good defensively and creates offensively. He’s a good passer and can score goals. I’m not surprised.” -- Dmitry Kulikov on Aleksander Barkov

“It’s been good. I think we’re a tight group. Here, we only have our team. It’s good.” -- Eetu Luostarinen on playing on the road

“Every single night, we want to be as good as possible defensively. That’s been pretty much the main thing we want to do here ever since last year. We just keep working on that and keep getting better and better with that.” – Aleksander Barkov on Florida's stingy defense


- The Panthers have logged 415 hits through eight playoff games.

- The Panthers have won four straight playoff games at TD Garden.

- Matthew Tkachuk as tallied nine points (2G, 7A) in five playoff games at TD Garden.

- Aleksander Barkov has recorded multiple points in three of his last four games.

- Sergei Bobrovsky has made 49 high-danger saves in the playoffs.



Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Evan Rodrigues

Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okposo


Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov


Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz


- May 6: F Patrick Giles recalled from Charlotte (AHL)

- May 5: F Rasmus Asplund, Will Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich and Justin Sourdif, D Mike Benning and Matt Kiersted, and G Magnus Hellberg recalled from Charlotte (AHL)

- May 3: G Spencer Knight recalled from Charlotte (AHL)


When: Sunday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA

TV & Streaming: TBS, truTV, MAX

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 92.1 WZZR (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 101.7 WCZR (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM App & Streaming 932; Panthers App

Watch Party: Baptist Health IcePlex