BOSTON – Where were you when “the block” happened?

Not long after a game-saving block from captain Aleksander Barkov, Gustav Forsling buried a rebound with 1:33 left in regulation to lift the Florida Panthers a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at TD Garden on Friday.

“I’m not usually the guy that scores the game-winning goal,” said Forsling, who played exceptional defense on the top pair throughout the game. “I’m trying to defend out there most of the time. It’s fun to score a little bit and help the team win, but I’ll stick to defense.”

Winning the series 4-2, the Panthers successfully punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight season and will face the New York Rangers for a chance to return to the Stanley Cup Final.

After beating the Bruins in Beantown, it’s time to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

“I don’t really even have words for what he’s doing for our team right now,” Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said of Barkov, who also scored three goals in the series. “He’s playing the best hockey in the world right now. He’s the best player in the world right now. Both ends of the ice, he’s been unbelievable. That shot block just shows you, too. He’s scored all the goals, he’s made the great plays, he had the puck the whole series, but that shot block shows you the completion of his game. Save of the game. Now we’re on to the Big Apple.”

After a back-and-forth first period that saw the Panthers have a stretch of more than 14 minutes without surrendering a shot on goal, the Bruins managed to break the ice when Pavel Zacha got behind the defense and scored on a breakaway to make it 1-0 at 19:07.

The goal was Zacha’s first in 25 career playoff games.

Less than a minute into the second period, Sergei Bobrovsky came up with an outstanding stop against David Pastrnak on a breakaway to keep the deficit at just one goal. Later in the period, he silenced the crowd again when he denied Justin Brazeau on a point-blank shot from in front.

Of the 14 shots Bobrovsky faced through the first two periods, eight were high danger.

“It was a good challenge,” Bobrovsky said. “It was a fun game. There was tension, good crowd, good atmosphere. It was a fun game to play and a fun game to win.”

Feeding off those saves, the Panthers finally rewarded their goaltender with a goal.

With the puck sliding precariously through the offensive zone after bouncing off a few bodies, Carter Verhaeghe whacked it over into the slot and right onto the stick of Anton Lundell, who then ripped a one-timer past Jeremy Swayman to make it 1-1 at 12:44.

Lundell slaps in loose puck to make it 1-1.

Reaching new heights, Lundell, still just 22, has lit the lamp in two of the last three games.

“That was huge,” Lundell said of his game-tying goal. “Our whole team was just waiting for that moment. One goal that was going to bring us more energy and belief and confidence. It was huge to get that. It was a tight game, but we believed and just kept going and never quit.”

Locked into a tight battle for much of the third period, Bobrovsky kept the score knotted when he shut down Charlie McAvoy, who made a great cut to the net, with a left-pad save just before the 12-minute mark.

Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves, while Swayman stopped 26 shots.

“He’s unbelievable,” Barkov said of Bobrovsky. “He gave us a chance to win, and we did. It’s a 2-1 game, they had so many chances to score, and he was there was for us. He gave us a chance. We’re lucky to have a guy like that in our net."

After having the final 23 seconds of their power play negated by a penalty in the waning minutes of regulation, the Panthers killed off an abbreviated power play for the Bruins, with the biggest moment of the kill being a goal-saving block from Barkov on Pastrnak.

Watching the replay, the only thing standing between Pastrnak and an open net was No. 16.

“That’s a big block,” Bobrovsky said. "He saved a goal, saved the game.”

After Barkov saved the game, Forsling won it.

Flying up the ice, the smooth-skating Swede gave the puck to Lundell and cut straight toward the net. After Swayman made the initial stop on Lundell’s shot from the slot, Forsling grabbed the rebound and buried a short-side shot to put the Panthers on top 2-1 with 1:33 left.

Forsling's late goal gives Florida a 2-1 lead.

“I got the puck and just followed up in the rush and kicked it out to Lundy,” Forsling said of the sequence. “[I] got the rebound and, honestly, [I was] just trying to get it to the net. I really didn’t see it go in. I just saw someone else react. It was amazing.”

In moving on, the Panthers picked up their sixth straight playoff win at TD Garden.

Last year, they upset the Bruins as underdogs.

This year, they cruised through Boston like a team on a mission.

“This series felt way different than last year’s,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said. “I think we’re a much better team than when we came in here last year on personnel and on experience. I also think the Boston Bruins played really hard. It was different, right? They’d had such a big year last year. This was an amazing series from behind the bench. It was dirty on both sides. It was heavy. It was clean. It was brilliantly skilled at time. It was a grind, but both goalies were phenomenal.”


“Of course we like to play, but these couple days of rest will not hurt. We’re just happy won right now. That’s all I’m thinking about.” – Aleksander Barkov

“It’s huge that we have guys stepping up. We have guys in and out of the lineup, but we’re able to win games and just play our game and play well. That shows a lot about our team.” – Anton Lundell

“Forsling and Lundell were special tonight. They were fantastic. [Forsling’s] gap was fantastic. The thing we didn’t like about our Game 5 was our gap, and it’s really what he does best.” – Paul Maurice

“It’s playoff hockey in New York. It’s a dream. MSG on the road is my favorite rink to play in just because of the history and everything that has to do with the city of New York.” – Matthew Tkachuk


- The Panthers have reached the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in their history.

- Gustav Forsling is the first defenseman in Panthers history to score a series-clinching goal.

- Sergei Bobrovsky earned his seventh career series-clinching win.

- Nikko Mikkola led the Panthers with six blocked shots.

- Evan Rodrigues and Dmitry Kulikov each recorded five hits.

- Anton Lundell has posted multiple points in two of his last three games.

-The Panthers led 57-42 in shot attempts at 5-on-5.


The Panthers are heading to the Empire State.

Back in the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight year, they’ll kick off the series with Game 1 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Stay tuned for more information.