NHL: Panthers host Bruins in Game 5 on brink of advancing

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The Boston Bruins face tall odds in their effort to keep their Eastern Conference semifinal series alive when they face the Florida Panthers in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla.

The Bruins trail the best-of-seven series 3-1 after losing the past three games, including Games 3 and 4 in Boston. The Bruins are 0-25 all-time when facing a 3-1 deficit in seven-game series.

“We have to get better. I have to give the players a better plan. Florida was significantly better than us,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “Whichever way you want to take it, it’s not good enough.”

The Panthers lost all four regular-season meetings against Boston, including two that went to overtime, but still won the Atlantic Division by one point over the Bruins.

Boston continued its winning ways against Florida with a 5-1 victory in Game 1, but the Panthers have outscored the Bruins 15-5 in the past three games.

“Excited to get back in front of our home crowd,” Florida forward Evan Rodrigues said. “The elimination games are always the hardest. That’s when they’ll be pushing the most. We have to be prepared to match that intensity. Looking to get the job done.”

Making matters more difficult for Boston, team captain Brad Marchand missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury after taking a hit from Sam Bennett in the third period of Game 3. He will travel with the team to Florida but remains day-to-day in advance of Game 5.

Marchand, 36, played in all 82 regular-season games this season and had a run of 156 straight playoff games without a miss.

Many expected the Bruins to retaliate against Bennett for his hit on Marchand, but instead Bennett scored the tying goal on a power play early in the third period of Game 4. Boston challenged for goalie interference on Bennett, but the goal was upheld and the Panthers added the go-ahead goal later in the third.

“It’s playoff hockey. I love it,” Bennett said. “I get a little extra juice. I enjoy every second of these games.”

Marchand, who leads the Bruins with 10 points in the playoffs on three goals and seven assists, continued to attend team meetings and skated Monday morning.

“He’s doing well,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said after the loss on Sunday that it was too early to discuss possible lineup changes.

“We’ve got to do our due diligence and look at the game again and see who’s executing and who’s playing with the effort,” he said.

Montgomery singled out goalie Jeremy Swayman and veteran forward David Pastrnak as the best players for Boston in Game 4.

Swayman made 38 saves in his ninth consecutive postseason start and Pastrnak scored his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Panthers forward Sam Reinhart, who scored 57 goals during the regular season, is expected to be available. He left Game 4 early in the third period after getting hit in the face with the puck, which caused considerable bleeding.

Panthers center Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist in Game 4, giving the 22-year-old former first-round draft pick seven points in nine games this postseason.

“I don’t think you guys have enough time to sit there as I say all the good things about him,” Florida forward Aleksander Barkov said of Lundell.

–Field Level Media

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