Panthers Knock Out Rangers, Advance To Second-Straight Stanley Cup Finals

Panthers Rangers

Photo by Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL – For a series defined by some of the best goalkeeping in playoff hockey, between the New York Rangers‘ Igor Shesterkin and the Florida Panthers‘ Sergei Bobrovsky, it was only fitting that Game Six was a low-scoring matchup that came down to the last seconds of the game.

But while Shesterkin did his part, the rest of the Rangers could not deliver on offense as they were shut down by the Cats defense, who won tonight’s game by a score of 2-1 and advanced to their second-straight Stanley Cup Finals, which is also their third in franchise history.

After the Cats got their first goal of the contest, they kept New York on their toes and limited their shots on Bobrovsky, playing frustrating, hard-nosed hockey against a Rangers team that gave all they had left in their tank, but it wasn’t enough to get by arguably the better team.

Once again, the curse of the President’s Trophy plays an ugly hand to the best regular-season team in the NHL. And for the second straight year, Florida plays the part of the Grim Reaper.

Get Your Goal And Run With It

Despite the drama later in the game, it flew by in the first and second periods. Both teams gave up a single penalty in the first, but both team’s exceptional penalty killing gave no chances.

With less than a minute to go in the first, the Cats got their break, fittingly, on a breakaway. A pair of passes between Sam Bennett and Evan Rodrigues set up Benny for a slapshot that rattled around the crossbars and into the net for the only goal we’d see in a while.

The second period was, for lack of a better term, uneventful. Things hit the fan in the third period, as they usually tend to do with this Panthers team who pride themselves on closing out games better than anyone else.

That’s All It Takes Sometimes

After nine minutes of play, neither team had great opportunities to score, but the pressure was mounting on New York as their season was on the line and they were running out of time. A stagnant offense against one of the best defensive cores there is in the NHL left them fighting for answers.

Meanwhile, Shesterkin had held down the wall for the Rangers as well as he could. In the end, New York ran out of time when Vladimir Tarasenko, who had been searching for a point this whole series, nailed a wrister off a takeaway for a well-needed insurance goal.

New York benched Shesterkin with around three minutes to go and did their job when Artemi Panarin nailed a wrister of his own to cut the lead with one minute and 40 seconds to go. But that was Florida’s only blemish of the night, as they held on for the win, ending New York’s season in Sunrise.

The Job’s Finished? Don’t Think So

Clean hockey was the name of the game for Florida, who only committed one penalty early on while taking more shots per the usual. The only real negative stat was the 17 giveaways from the Cats, but the Rangers didn’t do much better with 15 of their own.

The feeling was pure elation when Florida made the Stanley Cup Finals last year, but now the objective is clearer than ever – WIN.

However, we don’t know who they’ll be taking on yet. It could be either the Dallas Stars or Edmonton Oilers. The latter team has a 3-2 series advantage, with Game Six taking place in Canada tomorrow at 8 pm.

Regardless, the Stanley Cup Playoff is set to begin on Saturday, June 8th, with Florida and either Dallas or Edmonton in it. If it’s Dallas, the first two games will be in Texas, but if it’s Edmonton, then Games One and Two will be at the Amerant Bank Arena.

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