Nick Goss

Game 1 takeaways: Stellar Swayman leads Bruins to 5-1 win vs. Panthers

The Bruins have won three of their four road playoff games in 2024.

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The Boston Bruins' success on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs continued in Game 1 of their second-round series versus the Florida Panthers on Monday night.

Just 48 hours after eliminating the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime of Game 7, the Bruins went down to Sunrise, Fla., and defeated the Panthers 5-1 at Amerant Bank Arena.

After a scoreless but very entertaining first period, the Panthers got on the board first after capitalizing on a turnover in the Bruins' zone. But the lead didn't last long. Morgan Geekie equalized for the B's just 67 seconds later. Boston scored two more times in the frame with goals from defensemen Mason Lohrei and Brandon Carlo. Those three goals came on the Bruins' last three shots of the period.

Multiple defensemen scoring in the same game has been a rare occurrence for the B's this season. It's happened only twice in 90 games, and not since Nov. 14.

Justin Brazeau and Jake DeBrusk (empty net) scored for the Bruins in the third period. This offensive outburst, along with Jeremy Swayman's terrific performance in net (more on that below), powered the B's to their third straight Game 1 win dating back to last season.

Game 2 of the series is Wednesday night in Florida. But before we look ahead to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Bruins-Panthers Game 1.

Jim Montgomery uses timeout perfectly

The Bruins could not have started the third period any worse. Hampus Lindholm took a bad penalty, which put the Bruins on the penalty kill. The Panthers nearly scored with the man advantage, but even after the power play ended, they continued to dominate puck possession and tallied 11 shots on net over the first six minutes of the period.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery recognized his team was losing its focus and wisely called a timeout with 14:12 left in the period. Montgomery had a fiery message for his team, while captain Brad Marchand also showed his displeasure with the team's start to the period.

The timeout appeared to settle things down for the Bruins because they started to play much better, and less than two minutes later rookie forward Justin Brazeau increased their lead to 4-1 with a pretty deke on Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Former Bruins forward P.J. Stock loved the timeout usage by Montgomery when his team was reeling.

Montgomery has made some good decisions in the playoffs so far. His line changes before Game 3 in the first round helped produce two wins in Toronto. He's given Lohrei a larger role. He has stuck with Swayman as the starter, which has allowed the young goalie to build some impressive momentum. He also called out David Pastrnak before Game 7 against Toronto and the superstar right wing delivered.

Montgomery is pushing the right buttons at the moment.

Mason Lohrei's stellar play continues

Rookies typically don't show the kind of confidence in the playoffs that Lohrei is playing with right now. He made his postseason debut in Game 3 against the Leafs and has steadily improved in all three zones with each passing game.

His best performance came Monday night. He played the puck with poise, knew exactly when to jump into the play and did a good job winning possession in puck battles along the boards.

Lohrei gave the Bruins their first lead since Game 4 of the first round when he beat Bobrovsky with a perfect snipe high short side. His first career playoff goal put Boston on top 2-1.

Lohrei finished with one goal, one assist, two shots, two shot blocks and four hits in 16:05 of ice time.

Jeremy Swayman gives another great performance

Swayman made a sixth consecutive start for the first time in his career, and he gave another fantastic performance. The 25-year-old netminder needed to be good early, and he rose to the occasion with nine saves in the first period.

His best stop came on a rebound in the opening minute as he kicked out the right pad to keep the game scoreless.

Swayman did a great job preserving Boston's lead to begin the third period. The Panthers started the frame super aggressive and fired 11 shots at Swayman in the first six minutes. Despite heavy traffic around the crease, Swayman thwarted every Panthers scoring chance during that stretch.

Swayman finished with 38 saves on 39 shots. He still hasn't allowed more than two goals in any of his seven playoff starts, and he leads all postseason netminders with a .955 save percentage.

Will the Bruins give Swayman a seventh straight start Wednesday in Game 2? Linus Ullmark played really well against the Panthers in the regular season with a 3-0-0 record, a .947 save percentage and a 1.62 GAA.

But there's no way the Bruins should take Swayman out of the net when he's been the best goalie in the entire playoffs. He looked great physically in Game 1, and as long as his stamina remains OK, he should continue to play.

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