The Florida Panthers have swept the Carolina Hurricanes in four games to win the Eastern Conference side of the bracket and will be going to the Final.
This marks the third time in a row the Hurricanes have been swept in the Conference Finals since winning the Cup in 2007. The other two opponents that swept the Canes in the third round were Pittsburgh in 2009 and Boston in 2019, both of whom lost in the Final.
Game 4 saw the Panthers go out to an early lead, the Hurricanes fight back to tie it with a few minutes to go. But with Jordan Staal in the penalty box, it was a power play goal from Matthew Tkachuk with five seconds left on the clock that won the series for the Panthers with a degree of abruptness only the 2023 playoffs could muster.
MVP-caliber shit from Tkachuk pic.twitter.com/XWeD8pcct8— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 25, 2023
The Panthers score a go-ahead goal with 4.3 seconds left in regulation on the power play.— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 25, 2023
Potentially series-clinching goal if it stands pic.twitter.com/wmUdbXJpoo
While Tkachuk might be making the headlines, I do need to point out one statistic: the Panthers (Sergei Bobrovsky) have allowed only 43 goals on 63 expected. That is entirely why they – and the Hurricanes who were also -18 in goals vs expected this playoffs – have made it this far. The offense is what you would expect, and frankly a little under expectations, and Tkachuk has disappeared for a lot of the tournament. It's goaltending, folks.
'Who else, right?' Tkachuk hero for Panthers again in Game 4: @AmalieBenjamin with the storyhttps://t.co/m53VopxyAf— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 25, 2023
To add insult to injury at the end of the season, Sam Bennett laid this dirty hit on Slavin. I call it dirty because it wasn't a hockey play. He was looking for a head and he found it.
Slavin to the locker room after this hit from Bennett. No penalty for FLA on the hit (the reactions are what drew penalties) pic.twitter.com/zGUh2C8etA— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 25, 2023
On one hand, positivity is good. On the other, it's easy to be positive when you've won 11 of your last 12 games and are in the Finals.
In order to reach younger players, NHL coaches are turning to a radical new approach: positivity. https://t.co/2Dt5CL9X6Z— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 24, 2023
Various Leafs and Branches
This award is voted on in the middle of the playoffs, it is the only reason Bill Zito got any recognition for his team. That said, he has the best case to win the award because of the Tkachuk trade. Don Sweeney got the legacy votes for creating "the best regular season team in history" even though the Bruins folded like a wet sock in the first round and Sweeney got duped into signing Mitchell Miller. He still hasn't figured out how to get rid of him, by the way. Who's the third guy? Signed Jason Robertson to a late bridge contract.
Jim Nill (@DallasStars), Don Sweeney (@NHLBruins) and Bill Zito (@FlaPanthers) are the three finalists for the 2022-23 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 24, 2023
Details: https://t.co/WMtwkf7NHz #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/MRuBTuKAt7
I think Richard Peddie went on the radio to talk about fiscal responsibility in MLSE? I don't really know what his goal was. Curious to get your thoughts in the comments.
May 25, 2023
Yeah, sure, just rip the skin off with the band-aid.
Friedman writes in 32T that looks like Corey Perry will hit the market, will the Leafs and their new GM (whoever that will be) finally find a way to make it work?— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) May 24, 2023
Jamie Benn got two games for his vicious cross-check in Game 3. It is once again way too lenient from DOPS, if you can even call it player safety.
Dallas’ Jamie Benn has been suspended for two games for Cross-checking against Vegas’ Mark Stone. https://t.co/YBf8qihuCh— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 24, 2023
Jamie Benn of @DallasStars, when asked if he'd change anything on the play:— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 24, 2023
“Obviously didn't want to take a 5-minute penalty, but when the game happens fast, emotions are high. Obviously I would've liked to not fall on him and I guess use my stick as the landing point.” (1/2)
Here's something you might be reminded of every few years but forget immediately. The NHL runs disciplinary oversight during the Memorial Cup. This recently came up because they reduced Owen Beck's two-game suspension for slew-footing down to one game.
explanation: NHL department of player safety assumes all disciplinary oversight of the Memorial Cup + supervision of the officials. NHL reviewed the penalty and deemed Owen eligible for Game 1 of the Memorial Cup https://t.co/DYs9LQSxJe— Julia Tocheri (@juliatocheri) May 24, 2023
Andrew Shaw is doing what we call "blaming the victim."
andrew shaw: "i had nothing bad to say about kyle but it's a shame something like this had to go that far when it could've been nipped in the bud pretty quick... as a 20 year old, i would've never put myself in the situation kyle was in. he put himself in a bad situation." https://t.co/wRsBKZz4WH— random hockey thoughts (@stressedhockey) May 24, 2023
Another class-action lawsuit for hazing has been filed against the CHL.
A former Chicoutimi Saguenéens player who says rookies were beaten with bars of soap in towels and were forced to watch pornography and masturbate on a team bus in the presence of adult coaches has reportedly filed a $15.7M class-action lawsuit vs the QMJHL and CHL. https://t.co/qBUH0Nmu2B— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) May 24, 2023
I just realized Ron McLean has tried to be this version of Alex Trebek for 30 years and he's never once gotten it right.
Alex Trebek rapping the intro to the 1990 NHL Awards.— Craig Baird - Canadian History Ehx (@CraigBaird) May 25, 2023
You're welcome. pic.twitter.com/zFempVER83