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B's stay alive with Game 5 win; Montgomery mocks Panthers' dives

May 15, 2024, 7:37 AM ET [29 Comments]
Ty Anderson
Boston Bruins Blogger •Bruins Feature Columnist • RSSArchiveCONTACT
For the Bruins, Game 5 down was about more than just keeping the season alive.

It was about giving their captain Brad Marchand, injured in the first period of Game 3 and out since the third period of that game, a legitimate chance to make a return to the lineup before the season’s end.

And though nothing is definite on that front as it relates to Marchand’s health and availability, a gutsy, survivalist 2-1 victory for the Bruins at Sunrise’s Amerant Bank Arena has at the least bought the Bruins some more time to get their captain back on the ice for another must-win Friday at TD Garden.

Boston's ability to stave off elimination obviously came back to yet another stellar performance from the Bruins' Jeremy Swayman. In goal for what was his 10th straight start (that goalie rotation talk is loooooooong dead and buried, huh?), Swayman turned aside all but one of the 29 shots the Panthers threw his way, and made an absurd last-second save on Sam Reinhart. Perhaps not in terms of the quality of the save, but definitely in importance and significance.

But the Bruins also -- and finally -- got some big-time contributions from do-it-all defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who had an assist on Boston's first goal of the game and scored what would be the game-winning goal in the 2-1 final.

“I thought in Game 4, Charlie asserted himself really well,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said following the victory. “Maybe he wasn’t as clean as with the puck as we usually see him, but that big hit on [Sam] Reinhart [was]. He’s extremely competitive. He’s kind of quiet, like he doesn’t say much, but you could see him talking a lot tonight on the bench. And his play was instrumental in our victory, and I think the the goal for him is huge.”

Talk about an understatement.

Through four games of this second-round showdown with Florida, McAvoy had registered a grand total of zero shots on goals. Something that even Derek Forbort had accomplished in the first of his three-game run off the injured list and back into action for the Bruins. Now, McAvoy had done his part to land looks on net — McAvoy’s 12 shot attempts in the series were tied for the fourth-most among all Boston skaters — but they simply weren’t landing. That had to change for the Bruins, and McAvoy knew it.

“I’ve been trying certainly, taking shots and [I] just haven’t seem them be able to get to the net,” McAvoy, who finished Game 5 with a team-leading six shots, admitted. “You never lose confidence. It’s the playoffs. It’s up-and-down, it’s emotional. Every day is a new day, and that’s all we’re given. And so I’ve been trying to just keep the same mindset, and I’m grateful for these opportunities and the guys that I get to go to war with, and I want to be my best and do the best that I can. Tonight was good to just see them get on net and create some opportunities for our team.”

And on what proved to be the game-winning goal, McAvoy was the opportunity.

“Chucky came off like an animal,” Bruins center Charlie Coyle said of the play that ended with the McAvoy tally. “It’s nice to see him rewarded for everything he does. Charlie does it all. Even when he’s not scoring, I know he wants to score and contribute, which he’s more than capable of. We’ve seen it, but when he’s not, he just leads and leads and whatever the situation calls for in a game, it’s like he comes and makes that big play. And tonight it was the goal at that moment, but even besides that, it’s everything else he does within the game to make a big difference.”

With the two-point outing, McAvoy now has one goal and 10 points in 15 career playoff games where the Black and Gold have faced elimination.

Jim Montgomery goes bonkers over Panthers' dives

An already-emotional playoff series between the Bruins and Panthers hit new heights Tuesday night. Namely behind the B’s bench, where Jim Montgomery made his feelings known again and again, both with his words and some downright wild acting mimicking the on-ice action. Particularly in regards to penalties called against his team on what he felt were embellishments by the Panthers.

The performances from Montgomery were honestly nothing short of electric. Like, just absolutely unhinged (in the best possible way) by 2024 NHL head coaching standards kind of stuff.

And Montgomery’s one-man show began when Bruins defenseman Mason Lohrei was whistled for a hook against the Panthers’ Eetu Luostarinen. Before Lohrei could even make it to the box, an incensed Montgomery was pantomiming that it was a dive. Complete with diving board motions and a mock of Luostarinen throwing himself backwards. Montgomery even appeared to tell the referees “you’ll see” when referencing the dive on the play.

Montgomery’s show continued later in the night, too, as he seemingly mocked the Panthers and their noticeable habit of simply throwing their heads back on any and all contact throughout this series. Even to the delight of the woman sitting directly behind the Boston bench.

What. A. Show.

And while we all tried to avoid asking Montgomery what he thought about the officiating and the calls (you’re welcome, Don Sweeney), we couldn’t help but ask Montgomery just what went into this highly-animated performance behind the bench.

“Well, I just think in the league in general, the embellishments [are] going up,” Montgomery offered following his team’s Game 5 victory. “Players are getting better and better at grabbing their heads, snapping their heads back, getting hooked and going with the hook and jumping back.

“Used to be when I was growing up, Billy Barber was the guy that was known the best for it, and [he] drew a lot of penalties because of it. And I just think it makes it hard on the refs, you know? Because you don’t know if a guy was really high-stuck or if he’s just trying to get a call.”

It is worth noting that the Panthers were called for an embellishment in this game, as the on-ice officials opted to take both Morgan Geekie and Anton Lundell off for two minutes after Lundell fell like a house of cards following a Geekie crosscheck in the first period of play.

The Bruins, for what it’s worth, have made their feelings on the Panthers’ inability to stay on their feet known to the league. And with one embellishment on the board, it’ll be interesting to see if Montgomery’s comments — and his Al Pacino-esque performances behind the bench — continue to make a difference in how this series is officiated between now and its conclusion.
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