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Panthers reach Eastern Conference final for second straight year, eliminating Bruins in 6 games

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Panthers reach Eastern Conference final for second straight year, eliminating Bruins in 6 games
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Panthers reach Eastern Conference final for second straight year, eliminating Bruins in 6 games

2024-05-18 21:54 Last Updated At:22:00

BOSTON (AP) — Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice watched his team escape one breakaway after another and still manage to eliminate the Boston Bruins in six games.

So he didn’t want to overanalyze the team’s second straight trip to the Eastern Conference final.

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Florida Panthers' Anton Lundell (15) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice watched his team escape one breakaway after another and still manage to eliminate the Boston Bruins in six games.

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) checks Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) checks Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) battles Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) and Jake DeBrusk (74) for the puck during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) battles Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) and Jake DeBrusk (74) for the puck during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) scores the go-ahead goal against Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) as Bruins' Parker Wotherspoon (29) defends during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) scores the go-ahead goal against Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) as Bruins' Parker Wotherspoon (29) defends during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) celebrates after his go-ahead goal with teammates on the bench, including Vladimir Tarasenko (10), during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) celebrates after his go-ahead goal with teammates on the bench, including Vladimir Tarasenko (10), during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Nick Cousins (21) celebrate with Sergei Bobrovsky (72) in front of Sam Bennett (9) and Carter Verhaeghe (23) after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Nick Cousins (21) celebrate with Sergei Bobrovsky (72) in front of Sam Bennett (9) and Carter Verhaeghe (23) after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, left, talks with Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice, right, after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, left, talks with Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice, right, after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

“In truth, some of it’s luck,” Maurice said Friday night after Florida beat Boston 2-1 to win their second-round playoff series. “We gave up four ‘A’ chances in the second period that we just got lucky on that they didn’t go in.

“And that’s kind of what it felt like on the bench: It didn’t feel in control; it didn’t feel methodical,” Maurice said. “Everybody had a plan, and then they spent the next six games trying to punch each other in the face.”

Defenseman Gustav Forsling scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:33 left, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots to help the Panthers knock the Bruins out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

The Panthers advanced to the Eastern Conference final, where they will play the New York Rangers. Game 1 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m not doing that. I’m not doing anything with that,” Maurice said. “I need a day off.”

Anton Lundell scored for the Panthers and set up the game winner when his shot was deflected to the left side of the net. Forsling came in and beat Jeremy Swayman on the short side.

“I didn’t see it go in. I just saw someone else react. It was amazing,” said Forsling, who scored 10 goals this season — one of them a game winner. “I’m not usually the guy who scores the game-winning goal; I’m out there trying to defend. It’s nice to help your team win, but I’ll stick to defense.”

Florida won all three games in Boston this series and six straight playoff games at the TD Garden. The Panthers also beat the record-setting Bruins last year on their way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

“I would pay money to watch Boston and Florida play. If we did 82 games, there would be nothing left of these men. But it is hard and fast, highly skilled at times and brutal and violent at times,” Maurice said. “It is all of the best part of hockey, the Bruins series.”

Swayman stopped 26 shots for the Bruins. Pavel Zacha scored to give Boston a 1-0 lead late in the first period, but it was unable to beat Bobrovsky again. In the series, the Panthers outshot the Bruins 198-135.

Florida tied it with seven minutes left in the second, after a scramble in front of the Boston net that left DeBrusk on the ice. Lundell swooped into the slot and swept the puck past Swayman.

With the game tied and about three minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov blocked a shot by David Pastrnak on a wide-open net.

“You want to talk about the highs and lows of emotions on the bench? That’s a gaping net and a legitimate block,” Maurice said. “We end up scoring the goal. It’s a little bit of chaos down there. ... So it was quite the roller coaster.”

Boston missed several chances to add to its lead in the second period, including a breakaway by Pastrnak in the opening seconds.

“There are too many possible inflection points when you look at the Florida-Boston games for me to be that arrogant to sit here and say ‘well this is how we did it.’ I have no idea,” Maurice said. “You could take the last six wins that we have and we could lose every single one of them.”

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Florida Panthers' Anton Lundell (15) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Anton Lundell (15) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins with Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) checks Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) checks Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand (63) during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) battles Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) and Jake DeBrusk (74) for the puck during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Brandon Montour (62) battles Boston Bruins' Morgan Geekie (39) and Jake DeBrusk (74) for the puck during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) scores the go-ahead goal against Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) as Bruins' Parker Wotherspoon (29) defends during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) scores the go-ahead goal against Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) as Bruins' Parker Wotherspoon (29) defends during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) celebrates after his go-ahead goal with teammates on the bench, including Vladimir Tarasenko (10), during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Gustav Forsling (42) celebrates after his go-ahead goal with teammates on the bench, including Vladimir Tarasenko (10), during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Nick Cousins (21) celebrate with Sergei Bobrovsky (72) in front of Sam Bennett (9) and Carter Verhaeghe (23) after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Florida Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov (7) and Nick Cousins (21) celebrate with Sergei Bobrovsky (72) in front of Sam Bennett (9) and Carter Verhaeghe (23) after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, left, talks with Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice, right, after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, left, talks with Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice, right, after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Yet another wave of severe storms pummeled a wide swath of the United States and Canada, causing flash floods that required rescues Wednesday in Arkansas, dropping a tornado that blew a B-52 bomber off its base in New York, and stranding drivers in high water around Toronto.

The relentless series of storms has caused deaths or damage from the Plains to New England this week. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost power and air conditioning during days of sweltering heat.

As much as 11 inches (nearly 28 centimeters) of rain fell overnight into Wednesday on parts of Marion County, Arkansas, in the Ozark Mountains, the National Weather Service said.

At least 80 people had to evacuate a nursing home in Yellville, the county seat, and were taken to a community center, said Lacey Kanipe, a spokesperson for Arkansas emergency management. A section of a bridge washed out, and a historic courthouse flooded.

As many as 40 residents had to evacuate their homes in the Marion County city of Flippin, Kanipe said, and there was also a swift-water rescue involving a recreational vehicle in neighboring Baxter County.

There have been “impacts to infrastructure” in the area, said Kanipe, who didn't have details. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the flooding.

Cities across upstate New York declared states of emergency after a storm swept through Tuesday with high winds and spectacular lightning. A confirmed tornado in the city of Rome tipped over vehicles and left streets clogged with tree debris, power poles and electrical transformers.

The winds were fierce enough to knock a tourist attraction, a B-52 bomber, off its pedestal at Griffiss Business and Technology Park. Steeples crumbled and roofs were torn apart at First Presbyterian Church and St. Mary’s Church, both built in the 1800s. St. Mary’s is not an active church and is privately owned.

“These are beautiful old churches. It breaks my heart,” Rome resident Barb Mulvey said on Facebook.

A Rome landmark, a mural of a Revolutionary War figure on horseback, was destroyed, along with the building on which it was painted. All that remained was an image of a horse hoof.

Storm debris hit and killed an 82-year-old man who was outdoors in Canastota in central New York, village administrator Jeremy Ryan said.

Trees fell on houses and cars Tuesday in Keene, New Hampshire, forcing some residents to evacuate. Around Toronto, flooding temporarily closed several major roads and left drivers stranded, the Canadian Press reported.

About 200,000 homes and businesses lacked power Wednesday in northeastern U.S. states, according to PowerOutage.us. The East Coast from Maine to the Carolinas was warned of weather that could feel hotter than 100 degrees (37.8 Celsius) in some places.

A storm helped bring under control a forest fire burning at a military bombing range in New Jersey as it dropped half an inch of rain, the state forest fire service said.

This week's severe weather struck the Chicago area especially hard. The weather service said it confirmed 17 tornadoes hit northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, including 11 during a single stretch of extraordinary storms Monday night.

Utilities continued to restore power in the Midwest, where more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Illinois and Indiana still didn’t have electricity, according to PowerOutage.us.

Across the U.S., the storms have led to at least five deaths, including the one in New York. Flooding killed an 88-year-old couple who were in their car near Elsah, Illinois, on Tuesday and a 76-year-old passenger in a pickup in Rockford, Illinois, on Sunday. A fallen tree killed a 44-year-old woman in Cedar Lake, Indiana, on Monday.

Associated Press writers Karen Matthews in New York and Nick Perry in Boston contributed to this report.

Cars are partially submerged in flood waters in the Don Valley following heavy rain in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars are partially submerged in flood waters in the Don Valley following heavy rain in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

A person walks through the Union Station during a flood following heavy rain in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

A person walks through the Union Station during a flood following heavy rain in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ezra Solomon, 8, helps clear the road of debris near the intersection of West Huron and North Leavitt Street in West Town, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, after severe storms passed through the Chicago area the night before. (Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Ezra Solomon, 8, helps clear the road of debris near the intersection of West Huron and North Leavitt Street in West Town, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, after severe storms passed through the Chicago area the night before. (Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Water and mud coat the floor of Jami Lane's home in Nashville, Ill., after a nearby creek flooded on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Lane said the floodwaters reached three feet deep on the main floor of the home, and had never previously entered the house in her roughly 20 years of living there. (Ben Gray/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Water and mud coat the floor of Jami Lane's home in Nashville, Ill., after a nearby creek flooded on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Lane said the floodwaters reached three feet deep on the main floor of the home, and had never previously entered the house in her roughly 20 years of living there. (Ben Gray/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Fallen trees cover a vehicle following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Fallen trees cover a vehicle following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Jon Scott, a resident of Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., looks at the damage to his home after a power storm came through the area on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Jon Scott, a resident of Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., looks at the damage to his home after a power storm came through the area on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

City crews clean up debris on Lake Shore Blvd., after heavy rain caused flooding, in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

City crews clean up debris on Lake Shore Blvd., after heavy rain caused flooding, in Toronto, on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars remain stranded on the Don Valley Parkway as water recedes following heavy rain that caused flooding in Toronto on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars remain stranded on the Don Valley Parkway as water recedes following heavy rain that caused flooding in Toronto on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars remain stranded on Bayview Avenue as water recedes following heavy rain that caused flooding in Toronto on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars remain stranded on Bayview Avenue as water recedes following heavy rain that caused flooding in Toronto on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

Jon Scott, a resident of Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., looks at the damage to his home after a power storm came through the area on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Jon Scott, a resident of Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., looks at the damage to his home after a power storm came through the area on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Fallen trees are scattered following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Fallen trees are scattered following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

A giant tree blocks the road on Maple Avenue near the Keene, N.H., Middle School after a powerful storm on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

A giant tree blocks the road on Maple Avenue near the Keene, N.H., Middle School after a powerful storm on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Fallen trees are scattered following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H.,on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Fallen trees are scattered following after a storm that hit Tanglewood Estates in Keene, N.H.,on Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Cars are partially submerged in floodwaters in the Don Valley following heavy rain in Toronto, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

Cars are partially submerged in floodwaters in the Don Valley following heavy rain in Toronto, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

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