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The Panthers of 2023 look like the Canadiens of 2021

The NHL is a league of results. For those who doubt it, take a look at what’s happening with the Florida Panthers right now.

Sergei Bobrovsky has had an outstanding playoff run, and now the idea of not starting him in Game 3 of the Finals is surfacing after two tougher games. Really?

It’s amazing how losing two big field hockey games shakes the pillars of the temple in Florida. The club looked bad(especially yesterday), sure, but to take away one of their most valuable players since the start of the playoffs?

Are we there yet?

Yet no one is talking about removing Matthew Tkachuk from the line-up for Game #3. And yet, if there’s one player who hasn’t looked good since the start of the final, it’s him.

Yes, he’s scored, but he’s been mostly undisciplined. He’s had 36 penalty minutes in two games since the start of the final, which isn’t exactly extraordinary for his team.

You’ll tell me that not all the penalties were exactly deserved yesterday (the referees stole the show a bit for the wrong reasons) and that some sequences deserved penalties (including the one where Tkachuk is pushed into his net), but he needs to get back to being the player he used to be.

I don’t know if Paul Maurice’s comments against the refereeing went down well, but the refs will have to take their game up a notch too.

When I look at the Panthers’ track record, I really think about the Canadiens of 2021. After all, both managed to qualify for the playoffs through the back door and the trajectory is similar.

After all, it’s thanks to a good goalie who makes a lot of money that both teams made it to the finals. And while it’s too early to draw any conclusions for Florida, it’s clear that the goalie can’t overcome a fourth opponent.

The two teams, who had a Cinderella run, came back from a 3-1 deficit in the first round, which gave them wings.

Both teams went on to complete a sweep (second round for the CH, third round for the Panthers), beating Toronto in the process.

Both teams also crossed paths with Vegas and had Eric Staal in uniform.

That said, since the Canadiens won against Vegas and the club didn’t get screwed in the expansion draft, there was less finger-pointing from the Nevada club on social networks.

We’ve been talking about it lately, but it’s true that the Knights have extra motivation over the Finals because of the 2017 expansion draft. Guys like Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault want to prove to the Knights that they made the right decision.

Right now, in Marchessault’s case, it’s obvious.

The Quebecer has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games and, if things continue as they are, he’s well on his way to becoming the most valuable player in the playoffs. And let’s just say, after a difficult start to the playoffs, it wouldn’t be out of the question.

With the exception of the end when Jack Eichel was the victim of a (legal) hit by Matthew Tkachuk, the Golden Knights have always been in the driver’s seat in this series.

Even Radko Gudas doesn’t dominate as much – because of his health, of course, but still.

Will home-ice advantage make a difference from Thursday? Will the Panthers arrange for the Habs to draft 32nd instead of 31st?

In a gust

– Now that’s concentration.

– Dominique Ducharme talks about the QMJHL’s successes. [BPM Sports]

– Special.

– Quebec City mayor says NHL model doesn’t take his city into account. [BPM Sports]

– It’s more than bad for Alek Manoah. I have a feeling the Blue Jays will find an “injury” for him soon.

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