In what was one of the most exciting early rounds in Stanley Cup Playoff history, the Florida Panthers defeated the NHL’s top regular season team, the Boston Bruins, when Carter Verhaeghe scored the goal in overtime. of Game 7 to win the series, 4-3.

It was a battle behind the net for Jeremy Swayman, who got his first start of the series after Linus Ullmark was shaky through the first six games in the eyes of head coach Jim Montgomery.

After the puck found Sam Bennett’s stick, he passed it to Verhaeghe, who went under the bar and just over Swayman’s shoulder for the game-winner.

TD Garden and Bruins fans in one word? Stunned.


Sam Bennett #9 of the Florida Panthers shoots against Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins during the second period in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 30, 2023 in Boston , Mass. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

And it wasn’t just because of Verhaeghe’s goal.

As the Panthers have shown throughout this first round, they will never say die, which proved true yet again when they were down 3-2 with less than 90 seconds left in the deciding game.

With a minute to go, Brandon Montour saw the puck move his way after he hit Patrice Bergeron with an empty net for the Panthers on the other end. He dropped his stick on the ice, tossed the puck into the net and got the rebound right on a stick as he passed just under Swayman’s pads and into the back of the net.


The Panthers went wild on the ice and on the bench, while the home crowd couldn’t believe what they just saw. A few moments later, overtime was forced, and the Panthers once again did not allow the Bruins, who set a new NHL record during the regular season with 65 wins, to move on.

Florida was down 3-1 in this series after losing both of their home ice games in Games 3 and 4. But they won in overtime in Game 5, held off the Bruins’ charge with an offensive attack in Game 6 , and then they completed the game. last comeback with victory on the way.

Bruins celebrate goal

David Krejci #46 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Charlie McAvoy #73, Dmitry Orlov #81 and Pavel Zacha #18 after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game Seven of the First Round of the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup 2023 at TD Garden on April 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

They will now head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, who made it out of the first round for the first time in 19 years after completing their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

Montour got the Panthers on the board first in this game, and that was huge considering the team that scored first in every game that won this series. He rushed to the offensive zone as a power play was winding down for Florida and threw a backhand into the net.

Fortunately for the Panthers, the backhand went straight through Jeremy Swayman’s fifth hole to make it 1-0.

Early in the second period, more hiccups in the Bruins’ defensive zone as they tried to break the puck turned in Florida’s favor when Eetu Luostarinen received the ball at the blue line and passed it to Anton Lundell, who laid it off for Sam. Reinhart, and lowered the bar on Swayman’s glove hand to make the game 2-0.

There were anxious groans and even a few boos from the TD Garden crowd, but a stumble call changed everything for the Bruins in this one.

From there ensued three unanswered Bruins goals, beginning when David Krejci scored his first of the series after crushing Sergei Bobrovsky in a single period to cut the lead in half at 2-1.


The momentum then shifted in the home team’s favor once again to start the third period, as a power play that carried on from the end of the second period led to Tyler Bertuzzi’s goal in front of the net to make it 2- 2. I play just under a minute.

Moments later, defenseman Brandon Carlo received a long pass from Krejci and slapped Bobrovsky with a slap shot. While he made the opening save, it was a perfect rebound for the Bruins’ trusted scorer this season: David Pastrnak.

He wasted no time hitting the puck past Bobrovsky and the TD Garden lit up like a Christmas tree as the Bruins took the lead.

Brandon Montour #62 of the Florida Panthers celebrates with Aleksander Barkov #16, Carter Verhaeghe #23, Sam Reinhart #13 and Sam Bennett #9 after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on April 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

But as history shows us, 88% of the time the team that enters period 3 ahead wins Game 7 and the Panthers kept that streak alive, even though they needed overtime.

While the Bruins were in a daze at home, the curse of the President’s Trophy, which the Panthers experienced last season as the best regular-season team to fall in the first round, lives on.


On the other hand, the Panthers, the No. 8 and final seed in the Eastern Conference as the second wild card team, are red hot en route to Toronto.

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