Panthers Sweep Hurricanes, Advance To 2023 Stanley Cup Final

Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Florida Panthers shoots the puck for the game winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

May 24, 2023

SUNRISE, Fla. — Matthew Tkachuk scored a power-play goal with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to send the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996 with a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday.

Tkachuk scored his second goal of the game when he curled out into the low slot and shot past the blocker of Frederik Andersen, who was tied up by the stick of Brett Pesce and Sam Bennett. The Situation Room initiated a review to determine if there was goaltender interference on the play, but the call stood after a video review.

Tkachuk’s goal came after Jesper Fast tied it 3-3 with 3:22 remaining on a one-timer off a backhand pass from Jordan Martinook from below the goal line. 

Aleksander Barkov had two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for the Panthers, who are the second wild card from the East.

Florida will play the Vegas Golden Knights or Dallas Stars in the Final. Vegas leads that best-of-7 series 3-0 with Game 4 on Thursday.

Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers skates off the ice with the Prince of Wales Trophy after their 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the FLA Live Arena on May 24, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Paul Stastny and Teuvo Teravainen scored for the Hurricanes, who were the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division. Andersen made 20 saves.

Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin left the game 1:23 into the first period with an upper-body injury. Forward Stefan Noesen missed the final 14 minutes of the first period and all of the third because of an upper-body injury.

Anthony Duclair gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead 41 seconds into the game. His initial one-timer from below the right circle hit off the post and landed in between Andersen’s pads. Andersen, who did not know where the puck was, then got up to scramble back into his crease, and Duclair picked up the rebound along the goal line and roofed a shot before Brady Skjei could skate around the net and break it up.

Tkachuk made it 2-0 at 10:23 with a power-play goal. Aaron Ekblad‘s pass deflected off the stick of Shayne Gostisbehere and the leg of Brent Burns to Tkachuk, who scored five-hole on Andersen from in front.

Stastny cut it to 2-1 at 13:03, knocking in a rebound in the crease after Skjei’s one-timer deflected off the post and settled behind Bobrovsky.

Teravainen tied it 2-2 at 2:51 of the second period. Skjei’s shot from the left point broke the stick of Colin White and deflected to Teravainen, who scored blocker side from the right hash marks.

Ryan Lomberg scored his first of the playoffs to put Florida back in front 3-2 at 9:49. Following a turnover just inside the Carolina’s blue line, Eric Staal sent a spinning pass to White, who tried to tuck the puck past Andersen’s left pad but lost it to Lomberg, who jammed it into the net.

Post Game Notes

Matthew Tkachuk scored to put the Panthers ahead at 19:55 of the third period, matching the NHL record for latest series-clinching goal in regulation. Tkachuk equaled a mark set by Nick Metz during Game 6 of the 1942 Semifinals when he scored to put Toronto ahead 3-2 against the NY Rangers (and also secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Final).

* Matthew Tkachuk became the second player in franchise history with a series-clinching goal to send Florida to the Final, joining Tom Fitzgerald in Game 7 of the 1996 Conference Finals. Fitzgerald is the father of Tkachuk’s teammate, Casey, who has appeared in five contests with the Panthers this season including Game 4 of the First Round.

Source:, NHLStats Resources 

Nill, Sweeney, and Zito Voted Finalists for Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award

By NHL Public Relations

May 23, 2023

NEW YORK (May 24, 2023) – Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers are the three finalists for the 2022-23 Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.

Voting for this award was conducted among the NHL general managers and a panel of League executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be unveiled on Wednesday, June 28, during the first round of the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft in Nashville (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, SN, TVAS).

The NHL General Manager of the Year Award first was presented in 2009-10. It was renamed in 2019-20 in honor of Jim Gregory, the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who served as Toronto Maple Leafs general manager and a League executive for four decades.

Following are the finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award, in alphabetical order:

Jim Nill, Dallas Stars

Under Nill’s direction the Stars (47-21-14) posted 108 points, their highest total since 2015-16, and have advanced to the Western Conference Final for the second time in four seasons. Nill’s biggest offseason move was signing head coach Peter DeBoer, who earlier this month joined Scotty Bowman as the second head coach in NHL history to guide four franchises to the Conference Finals/Semifinals (NJD, SJS, VGK and DAL). Nill also inked left wing Mason Marchment and defenseman Colin Miller during the offseason; extended the contracts of goaltender Jake Oettinger and left wing Jason Robertson; and traded for right wing Evgenii Dadonov, center Max Domi and defenseman Nils Lundkvist. Several of Nill’s Dallas draft picks have made key contributions during their run to the Conference Finals, including leading scorer Roope Hintz (No. 49 overall in 2015); a trio of franchise-altering picks from 2017: defenseman Miro Heiskanen (No. 3), Oettinger (No. 26) and Robertson (No. 39); and recent Game 7 hero Wyatt Johnston (No. 23 in 2021). Nill, who in April marked his 10th anniversary as Stars GM, is a Jim Gregory finalist for the third time after finishing third in voting in both 2015-16 and 2019-20, the latter when the team last advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

Don Sweeney, Boston Bruins

Sweeney oversaw a Bruins team (65-12-5, 135 points) that rewrote the NHL’s record book this season. Under 2022-23 Jack Adams Award finalist Jim Montgomery, an offseason Sweeney hire, Boston sat atop the Atlantic Division from start to finish – becoming just the fourth team in the League’s modern era (since 1943-44) to lead wire-to-wire. The Bruins set NHL records for single-season wins (65) and points (135), including a League-record 14-game home winning streak from the start of the campaign. Boston also had a +128 goal differential (including shootout-deciding goals), the highest by any team since 1995-96 (DET, +144). The eighth-year Bruins GM bolstered his roster by re-signing center Patrice Bergeron, bringing back free agent center David Krejci and trading for center Pavel Zacha during the offseason. He then acquired right wing Garnet Hathaway and defenseman Dmitry Orlov (from WSH) as well as left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (from DET) prior to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline and signed right wing David Pastrnak (who had 61 goals and 113 points in 2022-23) to an eight-year extension. A previous winner in 2018-19, Sweeney is vying to join Lou Lamoriello (2019-20 and 2020-21) as the second GM to capture the Jim Gregory multiple times since it first was awarded in 2009-10.

Bill Zito, Florida Panthers

The Panthers (42-32-8, 92 points) have advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1995-96, continuing the upward trajectory that has defined Zito’s three years in South Florida. Building on the success of the 2021‑22 team, which captured the Presidents’ Trophy behind a franchise-record 58 wins and 122 points, Zito began a pivotal offseason by signing head coach Paul Maurice, who completed 2022-23 sixth on the NHL’s all-time coaching wins list (817) in 25 total seasons behind the bench. Exactly a month later Zito made a blockbuster trade to acquire and extend left wing Matthew Tkachuk, who went on to rank seventh in the NHL with 40-69—109 during the regular season, capture MVP honors in front his hometown fans at the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game, be voted a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy and serve as a catalyst during the team’s run to the Conference Finals. Zito made several other significant offseason moves, including signing free agents Nick CousinsAlex LyonEric StaalMarc Staal and Colin White. A Jim Gregory finalist for the second time in his first three years (a feat achieved by only one other GM: Marc Bergevin), Zito is seeking his first win after finishing third in voting following his first season at the helm of the team (2020-21).