NHL Series: Bobrovsky and the Panthers fulfilled their mission at MSG

NHL Series: Bobrovsky and the Panthers fulfilled their mission at MSG
NHL Series: Bobrovsky and the Panthers fulfilled their mission at MSG


The Florida Panthers won the first game of the Eastern final against the New York Rangers 3-0 on Wednesday.

They pulled off an important victory as visitors to Madison Square Garden, trying to reach the Stanley Cup final for the second year in a row.

As in the last round, Matthew Tkachuk scored the first goal of the series in addition to adding an assist. Carter Verhaeghe was credited with a goal after a gift from Alexis Lafrenière who scored in his own cage, then Sam Bennett completed the score into an empty net.

But above all, Sergei Bobrovsky was impeccable in achieving a 23-save shutout.

He had a somewhat chaotic start to the match which, however, did not shake him. Jostled in his semi-circle, he shortly after lost his stick behind his net before regaining it in time while the Rangers put the pressure on. Then a high shot from Vincent Trocheck made him lose his helmet, all in the first minutes.

That didn’t stop him from blocking all nine shots he faced during the first period, which the Panthers concluded with a 1-0 lead. He notably stopped a chance from Lafrenière’s enclave with his right pad.

After a turnover by Artemi Panarin in offensive territory, the Panthers were able to restart the attack quickly and Matthew Tkachuk opened the scoring with 3:34 to go. He is the Panthers’ leading scorer with 16 points.

Braden Schneider almost tied the score before the end of the first period on a breakaway, but his shot hit the post. Another breakaway chance presented itself coming back from intermission, but this time Bobrovsky stopped Will Cuylle.

The Panthers spent much more time than the opponent in the enemy zone, but were unable to extend their lead in the second period. The Rangers had the opportunity to equalize at the end of the period thanks to a numerical advantage, without success. There were 34 seconds remaining in the final period, but the score remained intact.

The Floridians were 7-0 when leading or tied after 40 minutes of action, and they had every intention of remaining perfect in that regard.

They hoped to have doubled the lead midway through the third period on a sequence which was however reviewed and which served to overturn the goal due to obstruction on the goalie. The referees ruled that Ryan Lomberg had intentionally planted his feet in Igor Shesterkin’s semi-circle before receiving a small push from Ryan Lindgren, which bothered the goalkeeper while Oliver Ekman-Larsson fired a shot that went wide. sneaked up behind him.

A minute later, Alexis Lafrenière received a penalty for holding which did not cause any damage to the Rangers, then as soon as he came off the bench, they buzzed seriously around Bobrovsky’s net and the Quebec striker even touched the pole. Overloaded, the Panthers were caught red-handed by having sent one too many players on the ice, but they were also able to resist on a disadvantaged basis.

To make matters worse, Lafrenière was directly responsible for the Panthers’ second goal. Carter Verheaghe was attempting a cross-ice pass to Tkachuk when the Quebecer stretched his stick to intercept it, redirecting the puck into the back of the cage.

Bennett made it 3-0 into an empty net with 1:19 left.



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