BOSTON (AP) — Bruins coach Jim Montgomery watched his team let a four-goal lead turn into a 4-3 edge and wondered whether he needed to call a timeout to settle things down.
“They’re saying the right things on the bench. It’s not like I can call timeout and say anything better,” he said after Boston recovered from some mid-game sloppiness and beat the Florida Panthers 7-3 on Monday night.
“There wasn’t a sense of panic,” Montgomery said, “but there wasn’t a sense of urgency with our play, either.”
Patrice Bergeron scored a pair of third-period insurance goals after Boston almost blew a 4-0 lead, and the Bruins improved to 17-0-2 at home. Bergeron also had a pair of assists, and Linus Ullmark stopped 36 shots to earn his 10th consecutive win.
“If we can learn as we win, it’s better than learning when you lose. But then, the losses will come,” Montgomery said with a laugh, “and we’ll learn better.”
The Bruins opened a 4-0 lead early in the second period before the Panthers scored three times in five minutes to make it a one-goal game.
Montgomery said if he had a younger team, he would have called a timeout.
Instead, he let his veteran leaders do the talking.
“It’s easy to squeeze and panic,” Bergeron said. “I think when you take a breath you realize that we’re still up, but we’ve got to be better.”
David Krejci slammed home the rebound of a Hampus Lindholm shot that bounced off both goalposts and out, giving Boston a 5-3 lead midway through the second. It stayed that way until Bergeron took a long lead pass from Connor Clifton and beat Spencer Knight with 11 minutes to play.
The Bruins captain added another goal about three minutes later, backhanding in a rebound from the slot.
“We haven’t been great playing with the lead lately, and that seems to continue,” Montgomery said. “We’re a little loose right now, but we’re winning. So it’s a fine balance of how much you push, and how much you let guys work through things.”
Knight stopped 19 shots for the Panthers, who have lost four of their last six games.
The Bruins made it 4-0 in the opening minutes of the second, just 21 seconds into a delay of game penalty for firing the puck over the glass. Brad Marchand fed Bergeron, and his shot rebounded off Knight right to David Pastrnak.
That’s when the Panthers woke up.
Just 100 seconds later, Sam Reinhart got to a rebound that Ullmark left open and poked it in to make it 4-1. Eric Stahl one-timed it from the right circle to make it 4-2 with six minutes gone in the second. Three minutes later, with his back to the net, Carter Verhaege backhanded the puck between his legs — and Ullmark’s.
As the puck trickled over the goal line, Boston defenseman Derek Forbort swept it away; it was originally ruled no goal, but replay showed it clearly crossed the line. (Forbort did manage to get behind Ullmark and punch one away with his glove in the third period.)
ON THE BOARD
Boston’s first six goals came from six different players. Among them was defenseman Brandon Carlo, who scored his first of the season when he skated right through the slot before wristing a shot past Knight to make it 2-0 with six minutes left in the first.
“It’s something that I haven’t tried to focus on too much of, not having a goal yet,” said Carlo, who has 22 goals in six-plus NHL seasons. “I knew it would hopefully come sooner, and I’m glad it did tonight.”
Also scoring for Boston were Clifton and Charlie Coyle.
Panthers: Host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
Bruins: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
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