Watch CBS News

Bruins eliminated from NHL playoffs with Game 6 loss to Panthers

BOSTON -- That's a wrap for the 2023-2024 Boston Bruins. Their season came to an end Friday night in heartbreaking fashion with a 2-1 Game 6 loss to the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

The game was tied 1-1 until just 1:33 remained in the third period, when Gustav Forsling went five-hole on Jeremy Swayman to put Florida on top 2-1. The puck somehow made it by both Parker Wotherspoon and Swayman, stunning the Bruins and the a sellout crowd at TD Garden.

"It's hard losing in that fashion. It just shows how much a game of inches this is," Boston captain Brad Marchand said after the loss.

Swayman made his way to the Boston bench for the final 90 seconds of the game, but the Bruins couldn't find the back of the net. So for the second straight season, Boston's season ends with a home loss to the Panthers. 

At least Jim Montgomery's crew made it to the second round this time around, after they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round. But the Panthers were once again standing in Boston's way, and once again sent the Bruins to the golf course. 

Last year, after a historic regular season, the Bruins were upset by the 8-seeded Panthers, losing in seven games after taking a 3-1 series lead. This year, the Bruins won Games 1 and 5 in Florida, but lost all three of their home games to the Panthers. 

Florida has now won six straight playoff games against the Bruins at TD Garden going back to last postseason.

The Bruins jumped on top first on Friday night, with Pavel Zacha scoring the first playoff goal of his career in the final minute of the first period. But Florida's Anton Lundell tied it midway through the second period when Boston couldn't clear the puck out of its own end. The puck eventually found its way to the Panthers center, who wristed a shot by Swayman to knot things at 1-1.

The Bruins had a number of chances in the second period, including a breakaway by David Pastrnak in the first minute, but Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky rejected the bid. A few minutes after Florida tied it, Pastrnak tried to send a pass to Brad Marchand, who would have had a wide open net had the pass connected. But the puck hit off the skate of Florida defenseman Gustav Forsling and never found its way to Marchand's stick.

A Charlie McAvoy roughing penalty on Sam Bennett with just over six minutes left in the third put the Panthers on a power play, but the Bruins killed it off and kept Florida off the board. Swayman stopped a shot by Bennett, and when the juicy rebound went to Vladimir Tarasenko, Wotherspoon was able to drag his leg and block his attempt to keep the game tied.

Unfortunately for Boston, Wotherspoon couldn't recreate that magic on Forsling's winner a few minutes later.

"It sucks," said forward Jake DeBrusk. "As soon as they scored that one, there was time left but it was a dagger. You see the guys celebrating and that sucks. There's no easy way to take that, but you move on."

The Bruins sent a flurry of shots at Bobrovsky with six skaters on the ice, but the Florida netminder stopped them all. He ended up with 22 saves in Friday night's clincher.

Swayman made 26 saves in the loss, which ended an incredible postseason run for the 25-year-old.

"Jeremy Swayman was terrific. Night in, night out," said Montgomery. "Every night making sensational saves. His competitiveness was something our team fed off."

But the Bruins struggled to score after their 5-1 win in Game 1, scoring just eight goals the rest of the series. The Bruins were also hit with their seventh Too Many Men penalty of the playoffs, setting a new NHL postseason record.

The Bruins have now lost all 26 series they've played in after falling behind 3-1. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.