The Florida Panthers will play in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals after completing the sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes with a 4-3 win in a tightly contested Game 4 on Thursday night.
This will be the second Stanley Cup Finals appearance for the Panthers and the franchise’s first in 27 years. Florida team last made the finals in the 1995–96 season, when they lost 4-0 in the series against the Colorado Avalanche.
The star of the Panthers’ win was All-Star forward Matthew Tkachuk, who scored two goals, including the winning goal, with less than five seconds left in the third period.
“We earned that thing and definitely didn’t do it the easy way. We earned it,” Tkachuk told reporters after the game.
Panthers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky also played an important role in Game 4, stopping 36 shots with a .923 save percentage.
“It’s amazing,” Bobrovsky said. “We showed the resilience … and we’re lucky to have Chucky on our side. He knows how to score big goals.”
Not a lot of people expected Florida Panthers to have this deep of a playoff run, especially since they finished the regular season with a 42-32-8 record and entered the postseason as a wild-card team. However, the Panthers showed amazing resilience, taking down Boston Bruins, the NHL’s best team in the regular season, in the first round and then beating Toronto Maple Leafs in five games before sweeping the Canes.
The Panthers will now wait for the winner of the Western Conference Finals matchup between the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights to find out who is standing in their way of winning the Stanley Cup.