The Florida Panthers refuse to quit. When they clinched a place in the playoffs, they immediately knew it would be tough making it through to the second round.
The Boston Bruins have broken several records during the regular season, and they’re the odds favorite to win the Cup this year. The Panthers have had a bit of a meh season, but five games into the first-round series, they’ve surprised a lot of hockey fans.
The B’s could’ve clinched a place in the second round of the playoff with a win in Game 5 Wednesday, but the game was tied 3-3 after regulation. And when Linus Ullmark made a crucial mistake six minutes into overtime, Matthew Tkachuk was in the right place to decide the game.
The series now returns to Florida, and the Panthers simply won’t give up.
Brad Marchand had a golden opportunity to decide the game on a breakaway alone on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, with just seconds away in the third period. He didn’t score; instead, Florida has a shot to tie the series this weekend. Matthew Tkachuk is playing his first year with the Panthers, and he’s doing a fantastic job.
He scored 40 goals and 109 points in the regular season and has seven points in the series against Boston. After Game 5, head coach Paul Maurice was full of praise.
“That guy is a — and then you put a long string of profanity — gamer,” Maurice said.
“He’s just a gamer. Use your own words.”
Boston has already won two games in Florida this series, but Matt Tkachuk has high belief in his team and that they’ll be capable of a major upset in the first round.
After his game-winning goal in Game 5, he took the opportunity to slam those who counted the Panthers out even before the series started.
“We’re supposed to get swept in the series, right? Everyone’s saying? So I don’t think anybody really gave us a chance after losing two games in a row and at home and coming here,” Tkachuk said. “It just seemed like the series was over before that game even started. … It comes down to: We don’t want our season to end.”