Jim Montgomery conceded that if he had a younger, less experienced team, he would have called timeout as his team was bleeding goals.
It never crossed the mind of his players.
“No, not at all,” Brandon Carlo said.
Monday’s game was a scramble for the Bruins at times, but the combination of their relentless confidence and some less-than-sharp goaltending at the other end had them cruising to another win at home.
Six Bruins beat Panthers netminder Spencer Knight in a 7-3 win. It was the fourth time the Bruins have scored a half-dozen goals in a game this season, and the first time they kicked the extra point.
Bergeron (2-2–4) scored twice in the third period, including a wrister from the wing that Knight probably should have saved, and a putback on the power play.
The other goals came from defensemen (Carlo, Connor Clifton), a forward from Weymouth (Charlie Coyle), and Czechs (David Pastrnak, David Krejci) as the Bruins remained unbeaten at home (17-0-2).
“Our depth wore on them,” said Montgomery, who faced a Panthers team without its top two centers, captain Aleksander Barkov and Anton Lundell, and forwards Anthony Duclair and Patric Hornqvist. “We’re a little loose right now, but we’re winning.”
Linus Ullmark’s night wasn’t easy — the Panthers landed 39 shots — but the netminder was sharpest in the third. With chaos at the net front, Ullmark tracked the puck and made a split-legged, glove-flashing stop on Gustav Forsling at 2:17.
“[Ullmark] was like he’s been all year in the third, square to pucks and covering up some mistakes we were making,” Montgomery said.
Bergeron sneaked one past Knight at 8:52 of the third, extending the lead to four at 13:18 with a tally that left the Bruins 2 for 4 on the power play.
They improved to 25-4-2, atop the NHL standings, and will enjoy a two-day break before hosting the Jets on Thursday.
Scoring the first four and allowing the next three, the Bruins were in a dogfight against their Atlantic Division visitors. Krejci’s goal made it 5-3 after two periods.
After Boston took a 4-0 lead at 1:38 of the second period, Florida scored three times in the next 5:20 to make it 4-3. The Panthers did that while outshooting the Bruins, 17-4, the rest of the second. They held a 28-19 shots edge after 40 minutes.
The Panthers celebrated a goal 28 seconds into the affair, after Hampus Lindholm knocked Ullmark — who made a save on a Colin White rush — into the net. A quick official review kept the score 0-0.
It was soon 3-0, Boston. Flushing a clogged neutral zone, the Bruins sprayed the Panthers with three goals in a span of 5:16 to take a commanding lead.
Clifton (1-1–2), nicknamed “The Gambler” by Montgomery, made it 1-0 after rushing into the zone, banking the puck off Knight, circling the net, and flipping the rebound upstairs at 10:51.
Fellow blue liner Carlo came right down Broadway to make it 2-0 at 14:04. Some deft work in the neutral zone by Brad Marchand (three assists) set up Carlo’s sizzling glove-side wrister.
Carlo (1-1–2) became the 21st goal-scorer for the Bruins this season. Every player on the active roster has scored. The only Bruins skaters who have played a game and still have a zero in the goal column: Jack Studnicka (traded to Vancouver), Mike Reilly, Dan Renouf, and Anton Stralman (all waived).
Carlo picked up an assist on the next goal, feeding Trent Frederic with a cross-ice pass through the neutral zone. Frederic hit Coyle, whose wrister found a hole in Knight’s gear at 16:07.
“He’s been jumping into the right holes offensively,” Montgomery said of Carlo, who also killed all 1:52 of a 4-on-3 in the third period, and logged 4:08 shorthanded.
Late in the first, Sam Bennett showed the Panthers’ frustration by punching Matt Grzelcyk off a faceoff. The Bruins didn’t score on that chance, but a puck-over-glass penalty by Forsling in the second period set up the 4-0 goal.
The Bruins got both of their preferred looks on the same sequence. Knight saved Bergeron’s one-timer from the slot, but kicked the rebound to Pastrnak, who buried his 21st of the season at 1:38 of the second.
The Panthers weren’t out of it. One minute and 24 seconds later, Bennett got inside position on Derek Forbort and cleaned up a rebound to make it 4-1. They didn’t stop there.
Forsling faked a slapper at the point and sent a long pass to Eric Staal in the right circle. Ullmark had time to slide over, but he was late in stopping Staal’s short-side one-timer at 5:42.
Carter Verhaeghe cut the lead to one at 8:22 of the second, flicking a loose puck at the goalmouth between his legs. Forbort nearly saved it, but it was a puck’s distance over the line.
Beginning 11 seconds after the 4-3 goal, the Bruins made a critical penalty kill after Pastrnak was tagged for an illegal check to the head on Marc Staal. That helped Krejci restore the two-goal edge. On a 4-on-3 rush, the slippery pivot fed Lindholm (two assists) for a redirect off the post. The puck scooted to the slot, and Krejci banged home the rebound.
“I think everyone in our room recognizes we’re probably not great 200 feet for 60 minutes right now,” Montgomery said. “But it seems like we go in spurts, and we pull away. It’s not ideal, but you have to be somewhat realistic that you’re going to go through moments like this. If we can learn as we win, it’s better than learning as you lose.
“But the losses will come, and we’ll learn better,” he said.
He punctuated that with an easy chuckle, as a coach in his position can.