BOSTON (AP) — Bruins coach Jim Montgomery watched his team turn a four-goal lead into a 4-3 lead and wondered if he needed time-out to calm things down.
“They say the right things on the bench. It’s not like I could take a break and say something better,” he said after Boston recovered from some mid-game slacks to beat the Florida Panthers 7-3 on Monday night.
“There was no sense of panic,” said Montgomery, “but there was also no sense of urgency in our game.”
Patrice Bergeron scored two insurance goals in the third half after Boston nearly gambled away a 4-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 17-0-2 at home. Bergeron also had two assists, and Linus Ullmark stopped 36 shots to earn his 10th straight win.
“If we can learn when we win, it’s better than learn when we lose. But then the casualties will come,” Montgomery said, laughing, “and we’ll learn better.”
The Bruins took a 4-0 lead early in the second half before the Panthers scored three goals in five minutes to make it a one-goal game.
Montgomery said if he had a younger team he would have taken time off.
Instead, he let his experienced leaders do the talking.
“It’s easy to push and panic,” Bergeron said. “I think when you take a breath you realize we’re still on top, but we need to get better.”
David Krejci rebounded home from a shot by Hampus Lindholm, which ricocheted off both goal posts and gave Boston a 5-3 lead midway through the second half. It stayed that way until Bergeron took a long lead pass from Connor Clifton and defeated Spencer Knight with eleven minutes remaining.
The Bruins captain added another goal about three minutes later by delivering a return from the slot.
“We haven’t played very well with the lead lately and that seems to be continuing,” Montgomery said. “We’re a bit loose at the moment, but we’re winning. So it’s a fine balance how much you push and how much you let the guys work through.
Knight saved 19 shots for the Panthers, who have lost four of their last six games.
The Bruins made it 4-0 in the opening minutes of game two, just 21 seconds after a game delay for kicking the puck over the glass. Brad Marchand fed Bergeron and his shot rebounded off Knight straight to David Pastrnak.
Then the panthers woke up.
Only 100 seconds later, Sam Reinhart came to a rebound that Ullmark left open and pushed it in to make it 4:1. Eric Stahl scored once from the right circle to make it 4:2 after six minutes had passed in the second half. Three minutes later, with his back to the net, Carter Verhaege backhanded the puck between his legs – and Ullmarks.
As the puck trickled over the goal line, Boston defenseman Derek Forbort swept it away; It wasn’t originally scored, but the replay showed it clearly crossed the line. (Forbort managed to get behind Ullmark and punch one away with his glove in the third period.)
ON THE BLACK BOARD
Boston’s first six goals came from six different players. Among them was defender Brandon Carlo, who scored his first goal of the season when he ran straight through the slot before converting a shot past Knight to make it 2-0 with six minutes remaining.
“It’s something that I haven’t focused too much on not having a goal yet,” said Carlo, who has scored 22 goals in more than six NHL seasons. “I knew hopefully it would come sooner and I’m glad it happened tonight.”
Clifton and Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston.
Panthers: Hosts the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
Bruins: hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
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