Florida was the NHL’s top-seeded staff coming into the playoffs, having earned the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy title on the power of a 122-point marketing campaign. The Panthers at the moment are the primary Presidents’ Trophy winners to be swept from a playoff sequence for the reason that 2019 Lightning had been ousted by Columbus within the first spherical.
Sport 4 was a scoreless affair a lot of the manner, till Patrick Maroon tipped some extent blast from Zach Bogosian previous Sergei Bobrovsky within the third interval. Ondrej Palat added an empty-netter within the remaining minute to seal Florida’s destiny.
The Panthers constructed their historic common season on offensive success, pacing the NHL in common scoring (4.11 targets per recreation) due to enviable depth upfront. They weren’t shut out as soon as via 82 video games. In actual fact, the final time Florida didn’t rating a aim in a recreation previous to Monday was Sport 6 of their first-round sequence towards Tampa final spring.
However all that firepower failed Florida when it mattered most.
The Panthers stumbled their well beyond Washington within the first spherical, profitable in six video games however requiring a number of come-from-behind performances to take action. That effort would not suffice towards reigning two-time Cup champions Tampa Bay.
Florida did not rating multiple aim in any of the 4 video games towards Tampa Bay. All of the Panthers’ prime performers constantly got here up empty. Jonathan Huberdeau was one among 4 30-plus aim scorers within the Panthers’ common season and led the staff with 115 factors. He added solely two assists towards Tampa. Aleksander Barkov and Claude Giroux tallied one help every. Sam Reinhart recorded a single aim, and it was the one one Florida scored on the ability play your complete postseason.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was spectacular for Tampa Bay in web, giving up solely three targets in 4 video games.
Bobrovsky repeatedly gave the Panthers an opportunity to get better although, not solely in Sport 4 however all through the sequence. He registered a stable .908 SV% over the primary three video games and turned apart 23 photographs attempting to stave off elimination on Monday.
Florida additionally caught a pair breaks with two Tampa targets being disallowed within the second interval.
The primary evaluate took over 10 minutes, because the NHL’s scenario room in Toronto tried to discern whether or not the puck had hit mesh previous to Lightning ahead Alex Killorn‘s ice-breaking aim. Lastly, a ruling got here down that the puck had exited the floor of play. No aim for Tampa Bay.
The second evaluate occurred simply minutes later. Nikita Kucherov snapped a wrister previous Bobrovsky, however Florida challenged for a hand move by Anthony Cirelli off the draw. It took lower than two minutes for the decision — no aim.
The Panthers could not muster any targets of their very own, and now they are going to face a protracted spring and summer season forward to look at what despatched their postseason off the rails.