Matthew Tkachuk: “It’s been a very even series.”

Matthew Tkachuk: “It’s been a very even series.”

Matthew Tkachuk faces tough questions after losing 3 straight in the Stanley Cup Final.

Jonathan Larivee

There's no question that, regardless of the circumstances, any team entering Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is going to be feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure on their shoulders. While that remains true, one could easily make the argument that no team will ever face more pressure in a Game 7 scenario than the Florida Panthers will on Monday when they face the Edmonton Oilers.

The Panthers have gone from looking like a team of destiny that took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Final and was on the verge of a sweep of the Oilers, to a team on the verge of what many believe would be the greatest collapse in the history of the National Hockey League. Even former players like former NHL goaltender Andrew Raycroft have taken note of just how unenviable a position the Panthers find themselves in.

In spite of that, the Panthers are refusing to let the moment overwhelm them as was evident when Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk spoke to the media on Sunday. In spite of the fact that the Panthers have largely been dominated over the course of the past 3 games, Tkachuk believes this series is dead even.

"Both teams are feeling that," said Tkachuk of the pressure of Game 7. "It's been a very even series. We won 3 they won 3. For us both teams to have an opportunity... very exciting to leave it all out there, desperation on both sides. It's been a very even series I feel like."

Tkachuk also insisted that the Panthers will treat this game just like they have every other game in this series, indicating that the team has not deviated from the mindset that got them to this point in the playoffs.

"It doesn't matter if we're up 1-0 in the series, if we're even, before Game 1, we're going in there with the same mindset," said Tkachuk."We have not gotten away from that at all."

Tkachuk seemed very intent on drilling home the fact that the Panthers must approach this like they have every other game.

"Has the opportunity to win it all been there the last couple of games? Yeah," admitted Tkachuk. "But at the end of the day they've played better than us in 3 games and we've played better than them for the other 3 games, so it really doesn't come down to that huge big picture. All that we are thinking is coming down to the rink tomorrow and try to win that first shift."

Tkachuk was asked how the Panthers can recover after losing 3 straight at the hands of the Oilers in the Cup Final, and he responded by again indicating he feels the series is dead even.

"Like I said both of us at one point in the series lost 3 games," said Tkachuk. "Doesn't matter how it's gone, doesn't matter how you draw it up, they lost the first 3 games and we lost the next 3. It's even. It doesn't matter what has happened up to this point, it's easy to forget."

Tkachuk and the Panthers will get the chance to prove it on Monday, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.