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In case you missed it last night, the Florida Panthers managed to complete their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final and, for the first time since 1996, will now play for the Stanley Cup.
The Panthers managed a 3-2 victory thanks to the late game heroics of superstar Matthew Tkachuk, who put the team up with just seconds remaining in regulation.
What an ending to a series where everything seemed to fall into places of the Panthers.
Sure, the Panthers were the better team, there's no denying that in a four game sweep, but the Hurricanes were a worthy opponent and maybe deserved a better fate. Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour certainly seems to think so, stating after the game that his team actually didn't get swept.
Check it out:
Uh... actually you did get swept, Rod. That's exactly what happened.
I understand his sentiment though, the Hurricanes were no pushover they just couldn't seem to catch a break. Meanwhile, the Panthers caught lightning in a bottle and seem to have everything working in their favor. Sometimes that's just how the puck bounces...
For me though, the entire story of this run for the Panthers can all be explained with one word: BOBROVSKY!
Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been a revelation this post-season and in particular in this Eastern Conference Final. He's arguably the frontrunner for the Conn Smythe Trophy at this point and is a big part of the reason the Panthers are in the Cup Final.
I mean... how can you not love this guy?
Just watch him sob in his own crease after Tkachuk scored the game winner, watch him embrace his teammates and watch him grin from ear to ear in the Panther's dressing room post-game:
What an absolute gem.
Meanwhile, Tkachuk was busy winning over fans in Calgary who swore him off for good after he forced a trade from former Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving last offseason. In discussing his first season in Florida, Tkachuk was quick to credit his former GM calling him an "unbelievable guy."
Check it out:
Nothing but class.