BOSTON (AP) The Boston Bruins are off to another hot start, and they weren't about to let the Florida Panthers put an end to it just yet.

“It was an important win, especially after last year,” said forward Pavel Zacha, who scored with 84 seconds left in overtime to lead the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the team that ended last year's record-setting regular season with a first-round playoff elimination. “This game meant a little bit more. ... You just want to beat teams like this, especially after the playoffs. And we’re happy that we won.”

Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy also scored for Boston, which fell behind 2-0 in the first period and rallied despite finishing the game with four defenseman after Matt Grzelcyk was injured and McAvoy was sent off with a game misconduct.

A year after setting NHL records for the most points and wins in the regular season - only to lose to the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs - the Bruins remain unbeaten in regulation (8-0-1).

“Obviously, we all know what happened last year,” said Linus Ullmark, who stopped 35 shots. “This was going to be a little bit more of an emotional game - for us, at least.”

Aleksander Barkov scored one goal and assisted on another, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots for Florida, which eliminated Boston in seven games in the first round and went on to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Barkov gave the Panthers the lead six minutes into the game. He helped make it 2-0 with five minutes left in the period when he took advantage of rookie Matthew Poitras' turnover behind the net and fed it to Sam Reinhart in front.

Marchand cut the deficit in half off a backhand feed from Jake DeBrusk four minutes into the second period. McAvoy tied it seven minutes into the third period after starting the breakout in the Bruins' zone.

But McAvoy was sent off midway through the final period with a game misconduct after elbowing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the head. The Bruins killed off the five minute power play and reached overtime, when Zacha won it with a wrist shot from the right side.

Panthers forward Sam Bennett, who was making his season debut after missing the first seven games with an unspecified lower body injury, needed to be helped off the ice in the second period. Bennett was in obvious pain and unable to put any weight on his left leg after Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm fell on it in front of the net.

Grzelcyk was ruled out for a return after leaving the first period with what the team said was an upper body injury.

The Bruins signed forward Danton Heinen to a one-year deal on Monday with a cap hit of $775,000. Heinen had eight goals and 14 assists in 65 games with the Penguins last year. He was originally selected by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and played in Boston from 2016-20 before he was traded to Anaheim.


Panthers: At Detroit on Thursday night.

Bruins: Host Toronto on Thursday night.



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