So It Begins, The 2023 Eastern Conference Final – Carolina and Florida

By NHL Public Relations

May 18, 2023

The Hurricanes, coming off their third consecutive division title, and the Panthers, who rebounded from a Second Round exit following their 2021-22 Presidents’ Trophy-winning season, are ready to drop the puck for Game 1 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

The Panthers, who entered the postseason as the lowest-seeded team, aim to match the second-longest road win streak in Stanley Cup Playoffs history when they take on the NHL’s second-best team from the regular season.

The Hurricanes, who enter the penultimate round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with home-ice advantage for the third time, eye their first win in the Conference Finals since 2006 – a postseason that concluded with the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup.

The Panthers enter the 2023 Eastern Conference Final with six consecutive road victories dating to Game 2 of the First Round and can become the eighth team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to extend their road win streak to seven games – they would join the 2012 Kings (10 GP), 2022 Avalanche (7 GP), 2010 Blackhawks (7 GP), 1999 (Avalanche), 1995 Devils (7 GP), 1982 Islanders (7 GP) and 1980 Islanders (7 GP).

Defenseman Brandon Montour has been an offensive force for the Panthers on the road, leading the club with five goals in seven games (5-0—5 in 7 GP) and trailing only Leon Draisaitl (9 in 6 GP) and Connor McDavid (7 in 6 GP) for the most among all players. After posting a career-high 73 points during the regular season, Montour sits one goal shy of tying the NHL record for most road goals by a blueliner in a single postseason (Brent Burns: 6 in 2016 w/ SJS & Brian Rafalski: 6 in 2001 w/ NJD).

Matthew Tkachuk, who has accumulated 1-8—9 through Florida’s streak, is leading the club in points this postseason (5-11—16 in 12 GP) after also doing so during the regular season (40-69—109 in 79 GP) – he is just two points shy of passing Dave Lowry (10-7—17 in 22 GP) for the most in a playoff year in Panthers history.

The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs marks the third time the Hurricanes have entered the Conference Finals with home-ice advantage following 2002 (4-2 W vs. TOR) and 2006 (4-3 W vs. BUF). During their Stanley Cup-winning campaign in 2006, Cory Stillman (3-7—10 in 7 GP) found the score sheet in every contest and collected an assist on Rod Brind’Amour’s lone career series-clinching goal for the franchise in Game 7. Stillman was the second player in NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to find the score sheet in every game of a Conference Finals/Semifinals that required seven games (also Doug Gilmour: 4-9—13 in 1993 CF w/ TOR).

Unlikely hero Jordan Martinook (3-7—10 in 11 GP) enters the Eastern Conference Final tied with Sebastian Aho (5-5—10 in 11 GP) for the most points among Hurricanes skaters this postseason and enters the penultimate round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs tied for the longest postseason assist streak in franchise history. Martinook’s recent success comes on the heels of a stretch without a point during each of the team’s six games in the First Round against the Islanders.


Source: NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Playoffs Edition – May 18, 2023

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