Controversial equalizing goal contributes to Florida Panthers’ 3-2 victory over Boston Bruins, giving them a 3-1 advantage

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Sergei Bobovsky blocks the shoot from the opponent

After Sam Bennett’s controversial altercation with Brad Marchand in the previous game, the Panthers forward stirred more drama by pushing Charlie Coyle in Game 4, leaving the Bruins on the verge of elimination.

Already receiving jeers at the Garden for his clash with Marchand, Bennett managed to net the crucial equalizer in Sunday night’s game, toppling Coyle into Boston’s goalie, Jeremy Swayman.

Despite protests from the Bruins, the NHL replay center in Toronto confirmed the goal’s validity. Shortly after, Aleksander Barkov secured the win with another goal, propelling Florida to a 3-2 victory and a commanding 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Bennett defended his action, emphasizing his focus on scoring despite Coyle’s interference. With memories of last year’s defeat haunting them, the Panthers showcased resilience, erasing a two-goal deficit and seizing the lead with Barkov’s decisive goal with 13 minutes remaining.

Danton Heinen falls while trying to take control of the puck

“Barky’s hockey skills are amazing to watch,” Bennett expressed. “For others, that goal would be a highlight of their career. But for him, it’s just another day at work. It’s pretty incredible what he can do.”

Sergei Bobrovsky blocked 16 shots, and Anton Lundell also scored for Florida. They have a chance to move on to the Eastern Conference finals with a win in Game 5 at home on Tuesday.

Without Marchand, their top scorer, Boston managed to take a 2-0 lead with goals from David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo. Despite Jeremy Swayman making 38 saves, he was hindered by Coyle when Bennett tied the game 3:41 into the third period.

“I couldn’t stay in position because their player pushed my teammate into me,” Swayman explained.

According to NHL Rule 69.1, “If a defending player is pushed, shoved, or fouled by an attacking player, causing contact with their own goalie, it’s considered contact initiated by the attacking player. If necessary, a penalty is given to the attacking player, and if a goal is scored, it would be disallowed.”

Bruins coach Jim Montgomery stated that the referees told him “the play didn’t interfere with the goal.” “That’s the explanation I received,” Montgomery mentioned.

Jake DeBrusk takes the shot but misses

Unlike other popular North American sports leagues, the NHL doesn’t have referees available to explain controversial calls to the media. The Bruins announced that general manager Don Sweeney would speak with the media on Monday.

For the Bruins, it seemed like a series of missed calls that already led to losing their captain. Bennett refuted on Sunday night that he had attempted to hit Marchand, explaining that he was preparing for the impact when he collided with Marchand’s head.

Marchand didn’t play in Game 4 and was said to be undergoing concussion protocol. “People can have their opinions. I know it definitely wasn’t intentional,” Bennett emphasized. “It’s unfortunate that he got hurt.

Obviously, he’s a great player and a significant part of the team. So, it’s unfortunate, but it wasn’t an intentional punch in the face by any means.”

Boston, after losing three of their last four regular-season games and finishing one point below Florida in the Atlantic Division, now needs to win three consecutive games, two of which are away, to stay in the playoffs.

Aleksander Barkov celebrates after his goal with temmates

Pastrnak scored 47 goals this season, but only one on the power play in the last 34 games of the regular season and the first 10 playoff games. Boston hadn’t scored on the power play in their first 11 attempts in the Florida series.

However, Pastrnak managed to shoot a powerful goal past Bobrovsky just after the faceoff, as Ekblad was penalized for interference midway through the first period.

Carlo, who scored in Game 1 shortly after his wife gave birth, extended the lead to 2-0 with five minutes remaining in the first period with a seemingly simple wrist shot from the blue line.

Despite this, the Panthers continued to take shots on goal, outshooting Boston 15-5 in the first period. Their efforts paid off early in the second period when Lundell narrowed the gap to one goal. Overall, Florida had a 41-18 advantage in shots on goal.


By Christopher Kamila

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