Bobrovsky could not hold back his tears, Tkachuk was afraid to breathe. Emotions “Florida” from the crazy victory
Sergey Emelyanov May 25, 2023 09:00 UTC Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
The Panthers have been waiting for the Stanley Cup Final for 27 years.
The 20,000-capacity FLA Live Arena in Sunrise merged in mad ecstasy five seconds before the end of the third period of Game 4 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals, in which the home Florida Panthers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes. 25-year-old forward Matthew Tkachuk got past Frederik Andersen and put the Panthers ahead. Everyone in the stands and on the ice understood that Carolina had no chance of recovering.
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Florida’s Russian goalie Sergey Bobrovsky got it, too. When, after Tkachuk’s goal, the 34-year-old goalkeeper was shown up close, it was clearly seen that the experienced goalkeeper could not even hold back tears.
This is understandable. It took Bobrovsky 12 years to go from his first NHL playoff game to the first Stanley Cup Final of his career. There were a lot of good things along the way, like two Vezin trophies (2013 and 2017) and signing a massive $10 million a year contract with the Panthers. But recent years have led Bobrovsky to battle constant criticism.
Photo: Frame of the transmission.
Suffice it to say that even the current playoffs, the Russian started in the status of reserve goalkeeper, but at the decisive moment, it was Sergey who first dragged his team to victory in the series with the Boston Bruins, then stopped the Toronto. Maple Leafs superstar attacks, and now puts point in the Carolina Cup.
How Florida got to the Stanley Cup Finals. match report
“Florida” Bobrovsky – in the NHL final! Decisive goal 5 seconds before the siren – madness!
It should be noted that the Hurricanes lost the Eastern Conference Finals with a score of 0-4 for the third time in a row. Previously, this happened in 2019 (in the series with the Boston Bruins) and 2009 (in the series with the Pittsburgh Penguins). The Panthers themselves reached the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in NHL history and the first time since 1996, when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche (0-4) in the deciding series.
The direct goal moment was not the last exciting one for the Panthers. He is not enough to score a goal. We still have to wait for specially trained people to confirm its legitimacy. Having enjoyed his teammates enough, Tkachuk took his place on the bench and settled on one point. There, where the main referees of the match were, Wes McCauley and Dan O’Rourke. It seemed that at that moment Matthew was even afraid to breathe. And when the official confirmation finally followed, Tkachuk jumped out of his seat and again began to rejoice at the goal. It was already a victory.
The 25-year-old American had an absolutely outstanding run, scoring the game-winner in three of his four matches. In the first match of the Eastern final, Tkachuk scored 13 seconds before the end of the fourth overtime (139:47), and in the next match he scored the winning goal in the second minute of the first overtime (61:51). ). He also assisted Sam Rinehart, who scored the game-winner in Game 3 of the finals.
Matthew Tkachuk sets Florida record in NHL playoffs
Tkachuk became the first player in Florida history to score 20 points in a single Stanley Cup.
After the final siren, Tkachuk took Bobrovsky in his arms, and then a handshake ceremony took place, where one of the most touching moments was the meeting of three brothers: Jordan, Eric and Mark Staalov. Ironically, Jordan, 34, watched Florida’s game-winning goal from the penalty area.
It was his removal that Tkachuk used, leading the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 27 years. It is difficult to imagine what was going on in the soul of one of the main symbols of the Hurricanes of recent times at that moment, but after the end of the meeting, he still found a reason for joy. His older brothers, Mark, 36, and Eric, 38, are headed to the Stanley Cup Finals. Bringing the younger brother to him and congratulated.
“Nobody bet on us in the series with Boston. Nobody bet on us in the Toronto series. Nobody bet on us in the Carolina series. We’re still here,” Florida Flappers forward Nick Cousins said.
The Florida players were so pleased that, contrary to the well-known superstition, they calmly touched the Prince of Wales Award, which is given to the Eastern Conference champions, and the team captain, Finnish forward Alexander Barkov, even walked away with The throphy. in the dressing room.
The American team spent only 28% of the regular season in the playoff zone, and now became the first team after the beginning of the expansion era (1967/1968 season), which managed to reach the final with such statistics. .
The previous record (32%) was held by St. Louis in 2019. And we remember how it all ended then. Paul Maurice’s team is now separated from repeating the history of the “bluesmen” by the most difficult step – the victory in the Stanley Cup final.