NHL Playoffs: Bruins edge Panthers in Game 5, avoid elimination

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NHL Playoffs: Bruins edge Panthers in Game 5, avoid elimination

Veteran forward David Pastrnak was among the Boston Bruins' top shot-takers in a win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla, File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

1 of 3 | Veteran forward David Pastrnak was among the Boston Bruins’ top shot-takers in a win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday in Sunrise, Fla, File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

SUNRISE, Fla., May 14 (UPI) — Boston Bruins defenders absorbed assaults while a resuscitated attack unleashed a puck cascade on the Florida Panthers for a Game 5 win Tuesday, extending the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Bruins, who now trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven game series, staved off playoff elimination with the 2-1 triumph at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. With the win, they send the series back to Boston, with Game 6 set for Friday at TD Garden.

The Bruins, who were held to 50 shots on goal through the first four games of series, fired 28 pucks on net in Game 5. Forward Morgan Geekie and defenseman Charlie McAvoy supplied the goals.

“I’ve been trying to keep the same mindset,” said McAvoy, who entered the game without a shot on goal in the series. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and the guys I get to go to war with. I want to be doing my best to do the best that I can.

“Tonight, it was just good to see them get on net and create more opportunities.”

Goalie Jeremy Swayman made 27 saves for the Bruins. Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 stops for the Panthers.

Forward Jake DeBrusk started the first scoring sequence by collecting the puck and skating behind the Panthers net about five minutes into the game. He then fired a pass to Geekie, who drifted in front of the goal. Geekie finished the play by slowing dragging the puck left before flipping it into the right side of the net past Bobrovsky.

The Bruins, who outshot the Panthers 13-4 over the first 20 minutes, carried that 1-0 lead into the second period.

Bruins defenders continued to deny the Panthers until forward Sam Reinhart ended the drought with a wrist shot 6:23 into the bridge frame. He scored that goal seconds after a face off, falling to the ground as he bladed the puck past Swayman on his glove side.

But the Bruins answered about four minutes later, with forwards Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic assisting McAvoy for a 2-1 lead.

Frederic drifted inside the right circle at the start of that sequence. He then passed back to Coyle, who slipped a backhanded pass to McAvoy. The Bruins defensman finished the play by rifling a wrist shot by Bobrovsky.

Panthers players pelted a barrage of attempts on the Bruins net for the remainder of the period, but still trailed by a goal at the start of the third. They also failed to find the net down the stretch, despite several close efforts.

The winner of the Panthers-Bruins series will face the New York Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals. The Rangers, who lead that series 3-2, will face the Hurricanes in Game 6 at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

Game 7 of the Panthers-Bruins series, if necessary, will be Sunday in Sunrise.

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