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Tkachuk, Panthers have 'Canes on brink after Game 3 win

The Florida Panthers are now just one game away from a 2023 Stanley Cup Final appearance after taking a 3-0 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 2023 Eastern Conference Finals may not be the closest in terms of series record, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had three great games. 

Each one has been decided by a single goal, with the first two both needing overtime to decide the winner. 

The Panthers have the Hurricanes on the brink of elimination, but they still need to close things out in Game 4 on Wednesday, May 24th to do so.

Overtimes galore

As mentioned, each of the first two games of this series have provided extra hockey, and that’s putting it lightly. 

The series began in Carolina with them being the higher seed, but Florida doesn’t seem to care about that. 

After giving up the first goal of the series, the Panthers came back with two of their own before the Hurricanes eventually forced a 2-2 game to go into overtime. 

However, things didn’t end there. 

We went scoreless for the first overtime, the second and even a third overtime. 

It wasn’t until the fourth overtime that Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk finally allowed fans to go home after 02:00 ET with his game-winning goal. 

In fact, we were just 13 seconds away from a fifth overtime.

Matthew Tkachuk makes his mark

Game 1 of this series essentially became a doubleheader after another entire game’s worth of overtimes were played. 

With that, most fans expected to see some tired legs and likely a high-scoring Game 2. 

However, the goaltenders remained relentless. After a bit of a fast start, we still saw just three goals scored. 

Carolina and Florida both experienced goals waved off due to offsides in Game 2, and yet again we went into overtime, this time with a 1-1 tie. 

However, Tkachuk decided to end things much earlier. 

It was him yet again that scored the game-winning goal in overtime, assisted by Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett. 

The series then shifted down to Florida for Game 3 on Monday night. 

Yet again, we saw excellent goaltending by both teams, and ultimately an even lower-scoring contest. 

There was just one goal scored, which yet again involved Tkachuk. 

This time it was him and Bennett assisting Reinhart to give the Panthers the 1-0 victory. 

The shutout win not only gave them a 3-0 series lead, but marked 217 minutes of ice time holding Carolina scoreless. 

With them looking for the sweep in Game 4 on home ice, Florida is now the overall favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup at +120.

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