Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals
Florida Panthers – Carolina Hurchuckles: 4-3
FLA: Duclair, Tkachuk (2), Lomberg
BECAUSE: Stastny, Teravainen, Fast
The Panthers prevailed 4-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Finals thanks to a moment of anthology from Matthew Tkachuk. It’s the first time since 1995/96 that the Florida side have made it to the Stanley Cup Grand Final. It was then swept away by the Colorado Avalanche, freshly landed in Denver.
Florida got off to a perfect start, taking the lead 2-0 after 10 minutes. Anthony Duclair only needed 41 seconds to break the ice as Matthew Tkachuk doubled the power play after 10:23.
Paul Stastnyi, shortly before the return to locker room, finally allowed the Hurricanes to score a second goal in more than 210 minutes against Sergey Bobrovsky by pushing a loose disc into its semi-circle at the back of the net. Three minutes after the resumption, Teuvo Teravainen brought everyone back to square one.
Ryan Lombergwho had scored in the first overtime of game number 1 before having his goal disallowed, managed to put the Panthers back at the forefront, but the success of Jesper Fast in the 57th minute would put the success (and qualification) of the local team in question.
But the magical story of the Panthers and Matthew Tkachuk had not finished being written. With Jordan Staal in the penalty box, whoever scored the game-winning goal in Games 1 and 2 rounded the net, got the right angle and beat it Frederik Andersen to send his team to the Stanley Cup Finals with 4.3 seconds remaining.
In the grand finale, the Panthers will await the winner of the series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars. Much like the East final, the West also threatens to end in a sweep as Vegas leads the series 3-0.