The Florida Panthers were supposed to defeat the Boston Bruins Thursday night. They were up 3-2, with Jonathan Huberdeau busting the tie midway through the third period. The clock ran down to the last minute of the game and that was supposed to be that.
But then the Bruins scored twice in the final 37 seconds of the game and took the win.
Just like that.
There wasn’t even an overtime to mercilessly put the cap on the game, just a goal from defenceman Matt Grzelcyk and another from Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins extended their point streak to 18 games, Florida lost their sixth straight.
Just like that.
“Obviously that room is very, very down right now and disappointed,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “No one had beaten this team in regulation in 17 games, now 18. I feel we should have been that team. It all got taken away in the last couple minutes, and it hurts.”
The Bruins haven’t lost in regulation since January 19. They’re 14-0-4 in their last 18 games and are four points up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second spot in the Atlantic Division. There is no catching the division-leading Lightning, who have 106 points and are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games.
But the Bruins can post up on the Maple Leafs and head into the post-season on one impressive streak, which is exactly what they intend to do.
Despite some offensive flourishes by the Panthers Thursday, Boston illustrated a never-say-die attitude and took it down to the wire. The comeback was the second this week, with the Bruins also returning from a deficit against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
“We can’t continue to get down 2-0 and expect to win each game,” said Brad Marchand. “But you do have to be able to come back in games like that, down by a goal with a few minutes left. It’s good but that’s a losing game, so we can’t be doing that to ourselves.”
The Thursday win put Boston in a tie with their second-longest points streak in franchise history. It also extended Tuukka Rask’s personal point streak to 18 games. He made 22 saves in the effort.
The Bruins will have a chance to extend their streak Saturday as they face off against the Ottawa Senators.
(Photo credit: NHL)