BOSTON — Pavel Zacha scored at 3:36 of overtime for the Boston Bruins, who extended their season-opening point streak to nine games with a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Monday, Bruins rally for OT win against Panthers, point streak at 9
Zacha, who also had an assist, scored with a wrist shot from down the right wing that beat Sergei Bobrovsky blocker side.
“I was looking if we were going 2-on-1, and kind of on the way there I was looking if there was going to be a chance to pass,” Zacha said. “But then the [defense] kind of went away, so I was just looking at where it was open in the far side, and I’m happy that I did it low blocker there.”
Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy scored, and Linus Ullmark made 35 saves for the Bruins (8-0-1), whose point streak is the longest in their history.
“They looked super fast, we looked super slow and we just wanted to simplify our game (after the first period),” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “Get to the forecheck, try and wear them down in their own end.”
Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart each had a goal and an assist, and Bobrovsky made 23 saves for Florida (4-3-1).
“We have good periods and bad periods, but obviously, it’s early in the season,” Barkov said. “But we want to establish that game, that we’re playing [an] even 60 minutes as hard as possible, not just 20 minutes or 40 minutes. I know [Boston is] a good team, they’re first place, so if you give them chances, they’re going to score.”
Barkov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 6:13 of the first period, shooting over the left pad of Ullmark on a 2-on-1 with Reinhart.
Reinhart made it 2-0 at 15:08, one-timing Barkov’s pass from behind the net.
“They’ve (Barkov and Reinhart) got just a nice bit of chemistry,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s not a particularly heavy line, but it’s very smart.”
Marchand cut it to 2-1 at 3:38 of the second period, tapping in Jake DeBrusk’s centering pass.
“We started supporting each other better,” Marchand said. “Allowed us to still come up with pucks after, you know, when they’re playing physical, and kept moving it forward and kind of catching them coming the wrong way, so it was working for us.”
McAvoy tied it 2-2 at 7:20 of the third period with a forehand deke off David Pastrnak’s pass in the slot.
The Panthers had a chance to regain the lead after McAvoy was assessed a match penalty for a check to the head of Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 9:28, but despite getting six shots on goal during the five-minute power play, they couldn’t score.
Bruins rally for OT win against Panthers, point streak at 9
“That’s why it was so good for us that we never gave them the momentum,” Ullmark said. “We always [got] the puck out in 15, 20 seconds, so they always have to redo it or break out and come in. And then maybe there’s a face-off or whatever, so we kept them away from establishing something. And like I said, I’ve got to give all the credit to the [penalty kill] guys. They [did] a tremendous job throughout the game, not just that five-minute one.”
NOTES: Ekman-Larsson and forward Sam Bennett each left the game early. Maurice did not have an update on either player. Bennett was making his season debut after missing Florida’s first seven games with a lower-body injury. … Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left during the first period with an upper-body injury. He is expected to be out “a couple of weeks,” according to Montgomery. … Barkov played in his 671st NHL game, tying Jonathan Huberdeau for the most in Panthers franchise history. … Reinhart became the third player in Florida history with eight goals through his first eight games in a season, joining Pavel Bure (1998-99) and Scott Mellanby (1995-96).