Many had counted the Panthers out even before the playoffs started. They were up against the record-breaking Boston Bruins, coming off a historically good regular season, when they became the winningest team in league history.
But the Panthers refused to quit, turned around a 3-1 series lead for Boston, and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Some called it one of the greatest upsets in playoff history.
But the Panthers didn’t have many days to celebrate it. They clinched the series on Sunday and got some well-earned rest Monday, but on Tuesday, it was time to get back at it, with Game 1 of the second-round series against Toronto Maple Leafs.
After 28 minutes, the Panthers were up 2-0, but the Maple Leafs got one goal back immediately, and six minutes later, the game was tied 2-2. The Maple Leafs outshot the Panthers 36-28, but the Panthers stole Game 1 from the Maple Leafs, 4-2, in Toronto.
And Panthers’ coach Paul Maurice thinks his team has more to give.
“I thought we were good tonight,” Maurice said. “I didn’t think we were great.”
Paul Maurice had strong opinions about the referees as well. He’s felt unfairly treated throughout the first round, and Game 1 against Toronto was no different. During the game, Maurice was spotted by the cameras making signs to the officials as he held out five fingers on one hand and one finger on the other.
That was also the number of penalties assessed to both teams at that point during the game, 5-1 in favor of the Leafs.
Maurice continued ranting about the referees after the game when he totally bashed them for their performance.
“We have just accepted the fact that we’re going to be in the penalty box more than the opponent,” he said.
He continued to talk about his goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, who played an incredible game. ”Tell Sergei to get lots of sleep.”