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MX News Update 2024


Matthew Tkachuk and David Pastrnak fistfight in Game 2

Boston and Florida turned up the heat on Wednesday in Game 2 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series with a heavyweight battle between stars Matthew Tkachuk and David Pastrnak.

The visiting Bruins – who entered the series with a 1-0 lead – trailed 6-1 with just over seven minutes left in the third period when top winger Pastrnak and Panthers forward Tkachuk dropped the gloves in an uncharacteristic fight that Pastrnak was ready for. to accept when Tkachuk agreed to the challenge.

“Honestly, I’m not afraid of him,” Pastrnak said. “I can take a beating.”

The punches actually seemed approved by Bruins coach Jim Montgomery. Cameras showed Montgomery seemingly giving Pastrnak the nod to mix it up with Tkachuk shortly before the two went after each other.

Montgomery denied giving explicit permission, but he wasn’t upset about Pastrnak getting physical in the Bruins’ eventual 6-1 loss, tying the series as it moves to Boston for Game 3 on Friday.

“I’m really proud of Pasta,” Montgomery said. “He just went out there and fought. You like your hockey players to be competitors.”

What Montgomery didn’t appreciate were the extra hits he thought Tkachuk got in when Pastrnak went to the ice.

“To me, that’s not part of the game,” Montgomery said.

For his part, Florida coach Paul Maurice felt the scrap was positive.

“I loved it,” Maurice said.

Both Tkachuk and Pastrnak received penalties for fighting and misconduct in the match. But as Pastrnak shamelessly admitted after the final whistle, “The game was over.”

It was a tough night all around for Boston, which suffered its most lopsided loss of the postseason. The Bruins started well, with Charlie Coyle giving them a 1-0 lead on 20 minutes. But it was all Florida from then on as the Panthers scored six unanswered goals to secure their first win of the series.

Boston had enjoyed sensational goaltending from Jeremy Swayman throughout the playoffs — he entered Game 2 with a 5-2 record, .955 save percentage and 1.42 goals against average — but Montgomery pulled Swayman early in the third after allowing the fourth Panthers goal. Swayman, who had not allowed more than two goals in a playoff game to that point, was replaced by Linus Ullmark in his first action since Game 2 of Boston’s first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, Montgomery didn’t think the downturn was related to Swayman, but rather that the Bruins had played their starter in six of seven games through a first-round series that ended Saturday and again in Monday’s Game 1 — in which Swayman was eliminated. exceptional in making 38 stops in the win.

“The workload played a role in our efforts tonight,” Montgomery said. “We had no juice tonight. Swayman was great. I was thinking about taking him out at 3-1, and when the fourth goal came in I thought, ‘I’m taking him out now.'”

Ullmark finished with eight saves on 10 shots to Swayman’s 19 stops on 23 shots.

It is the Bruins’ practice not to announce a starting goaltender prior to postseason games. It’s unlikely Montgomery will break tradition before Game 3.