The Florida Panthers are on the verge of grabbing a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Panthers shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 on a 32-save shutout by goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 3 and now own a 3-0 series lead. Game 4 is Wednesday night at FLA Live Arena in what could be the end to the series.
Bobrovsky and the Panthers are one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
Bobrovsky shuts the door
While Florida has played air-tight defense against the Canes, Bobrovsky has taken his game to another level. In the playoffs, he is 10-2 with a 2.15 GAA, a .935 save percentage, one shutout, and one assist.
Currently, his GAA, save percentage, and wins are all career highs. In his last five games, Bobrovsky is 4-1 with a .965 save percentage and only seven goals against.
Bobrovsky had a decent year in the regular season, going 24-20, but he has come to life in the playoffs. This may be the best he has played in his NHL career, at age 34.
This is exactly what Florida needed, a goaltender to stand on his head and lead the way. The Panthers as a whole are suffocating the Hurricanes offense, giving them no room to operate.
Bobrovsky and Matthew Tkachuk have elevated their play in the playoffs and have the Panthers within reach of the Stanley Cup Final.
Carolina needs to play with more emotion
Carolina goes into Game 4 with its back against the wall. They have done everything possible to win in this series but have failed at every chance possible. The Hurricanes have had good chances and outshot Florida almost two to one in last night’s game. So, how do they break the ice?
Play with more emotion. They have nothing to lose. Lose and go home. Win and play another day. Get Florida off of their game, draw more penalties, rattle Bobrovsky, and get more shots on the net with more Canes around the net.
The Hurricanes are playing for their playoff lives, so they should throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the Panthers. The way that Florida has played is the way that Carolina needs to play to save their playoffs.
The Panthers’ stats do matter
The Florida Panthers seemingly came out of nowhere in the playoffs to eliminate the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the regular season, the Panthers gave up 60 more goals than Carolina, had 21 fewer points in the standings, and were 6-3 to close out the season as to 5-5 for the Hurricanes.
Florida came under the radar, so this outcome should not surprise a lot of people. Florida forward Matthew Tkachuk proved he was worth the trade with the Calgary Flames. He has been nothing but dominant since his arrival and has played pivotal hockey in these playoffs, leading the team offensively.
Matthew would be the first Tkachuk to win a Stanley Cup if Florida continues to play elite hockey.