Brad Marchand's 50th career playoff goal was the ultimate difference maker as the Boston Bruins began their Eastern Conference first-round series with a 3-1 win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Monday night
Marchand, who tallied at 3:41 of the second period, is the eighth active NHL player with that milestone and joins current team president Cam Neely (55) as the second-ever Bruin to reach that mark.
David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk also scored for Boston, which finished with the most regular-season victories (65) and points (135) in league history.
Tyler Bertuzzi (two assists) became the oldest Bruins player with multiple points in his first career playoff game at 28 years, 52 days old
Linus Ullmark, who missed Boston's final regular-season game, made 31 saves in the win.
The Panthers finished with a 32-29 shot advantage. Fifteen of Florida's shots were in the first period
The Bruins were playing without captain Patrice Bergeron (illness)
Matthew Tkachuk scored and Alex Lyon stopped 26 shots for Florida.
The Bruins' power play earned a pair of early opportunities in the opening five minutes, and Pastrnak took advantage on the latter one to make it a 1-0 game
At 5:58, Boston's top scorer buried Bertuzzi's great backhand feed into an open net. David Krejci's one-timer from the left circle created the rebound that popped to Bertuzzi in the low slot.
The Bruins doubled their lead 3:41 into the middle frame as Charlie McAvoy sent the puck ahead to Marchand, who snapped off a shot from the left circle that deflected in off Lyon's glove
Tkachuk got a goal back for Florida at 6:34, taking advantage of Dmitry Orlov's turnover to score on a backhand-forehand move just outside the cage.
Boston went 9:01 without a shot after Marchand's 2-0 goal. On the drought-breaking attempt, Lyon made a flashing glove save on Trent Frederic on a 2-on-1 rush.
DeBrusk pushed the Boston advantage to 3-1 with 2:28 left in the second, getting the final whack at a puck that was loose under Lyon's pads. Bertuzzi and Pavel Zacha both had whacks at the puck before DeBrusk slammed home the insurance tally.
--Field Level Media