It’s another hard loss for the Carolina Hurricanes as they fall to the Florida Panthers 1-0 in arguably their most frustrating game of the postseason.
The Canes (52-21-9) now trail 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals – which is not ideal for the leaders of the Metropolitan Division – while the Panthers (42-32-8) continue their scorching-hot postseason run. All throughout the 60 minutes of gameplay, Carolina was unable to keep up with the suffocating Florida defense.
The first frame was a defensive masterclass on both sides of the ice, as neither team broke 10 shots on goal. Canes center Sebasitan Aho looked to end his scoring drought multiple times throughout the period, but Florida goaltender Sergi Bobrovski was on another level tonight stopping 32-32 shots on goal. Aho finished the game with 20 minutes of ice time, the most of any of the Carolina offensive players.
Tensions were flying between the benches, as not even thirty seconds into the game defenseman Brent Burns got aggressive at the glass with Florida left winger Mathiew Tkachuk. In total, the Canes had 10 penalty minutes throughout the game, with one of the power plays leading to Florida’s – and the game’s – lone goal.
To no surprise, physicality looks like it will play a big factor in tonight's affair.Brent Burns is doing his part early to ensure that the #Canes have a presence in that category. pic.twitter.com/CieDhU1NMO— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) May 23, 2023
As the puck dropped for the second period, a switch flipped within the Carolina offense, but they were unable to execute the end-goal. The Canes held a 9-0 shots on goal lead for the first nine minutes of the period, but none of those would make it past the impenetrable Bobrovski. When right winger Stefan Noesen went to the penalty box for roughing, it opened up a prime scoring opportunity for the Panthers.
The one and only goal of the game came courtesy of Florida center Sam Reinhard while Florida was up a man on the ice. The Canes didn’t slack off though, as they finished the period with 14 shots on goal compared to the Panther’s five. The trend of not being able to execute on shots on goal followed the Canes to the third period, as they finished that period with an astounding 11-2 shots on goal compared to Florida.
Rally caps, rally towel, turn your sweater inside outWe don't care what you do, just do it— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 23, 2023
Caniacs must anxiously wait for Wednesday, May 24 as Carolina must fight off being swept in four games. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Sunrise, FL.
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