2023 NHL Playoffs:  Eastern Conference Final – Panthers hold 2-0 series lead on Hurricanes

Matthew Tkachuk scored another game-winner on Saturday and put Panthers up two games

National Hockey League, NHL.com

Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)


RALEIGH, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes have their backs against the boards heading into Game 3 of their NHL Eastern Conference Final series against the Florida Panthers.

Matthew Tkachuk followed up his quadruple-overtime goal in Game 1 by scoring the winner just 1:51 into extra time on Saturday  and gave Florida a 2-0 series lead.

“Haven’t found a way to score,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said following another overtime loss.

“Margins are tight and haven’t got a bounce yet; hopefully get one because that’s what we’ll probably need,” he added.

“We’ve been through this – it’s not new to us. We’ve been kicked in the teeth a lot these last few years. We’ve always responded. I’m sure we will next game.”

Bounce backs

In terms of the numbers and odds, the long view of the Hurricanes winning the series after losing home—ice advantage would only make them the the ninth team in league history and second in as many years to win a best-of-seven Conference Finals/Semifinals series after dropping each of the first two games.

It is possible with this team considering its pattern of bouncing back following short losing spurts this season.

With the exception of two three-game (Mar. 26-30; Apr. 6-10), and a five-game (Nov. 17-25) set of consecutive losses (regulation, overtime, and/or shootout), Carolina has won games on 13 different occasions following one or two consecutive losses.

Banking on puck luck

Brind’Amour is correct.

His team has been through this (losing consecutive games) before, and has responded.

But, the Canes have also experienced falling into a hole too deep to dig out of as well.

The positive mindset considers that this group, this season so far, has been successful more often than not in responding to short losing slides.

So bottom line, playing the next two games in Sunrise, a win in Game 3 is a highly likely possibility, and so is the possibility to pull closer or even after Game 4 on Wednesday night.

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