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Matthew Tkachuk is not 100%: he’s clearly hiding an injury
Last night, Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers took place.

Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Panthers absolutely had to win this game at home.

Unfortunately for them, despite a fine effort to close the gap, the Panthers lost 3-2 to the Knights.

The Golden Knights are now just one win away from winning the first Stanley Cup in their history (which only began in 2017).

This leaves the Panthers in hot water, as they must now win three games in a row to get their hands on the Stanley Cup.

They overcame such a 3-1 deficit in a series against the Boston Bruins in the first round, but will they be able to do the same to the Golden Knights?

In any case, only once in NHL history has a team overcome such a deficit in the Stanley Cup Final.

It was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs who accomplished this feat.

In short, it’s really not looking good for the Panthers, even more so when you look at the performance and situation of Panthers star forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk is not having a very good series, even though he has three points in four games.

Why not?

Because he’s far too undisciplined, and we don’t see him stand out as much as he did in the previous three series.

He seems constantly frustrated and discouraged, something we haven’t really seen from Tkachuk until now.

Worst of all, the Panthers’ headliner is clearly not 100%.

Indeed, it’s clear that Tkachuk isn’t a shadow of his former self. He’s not as intense and committed as usual, he didn’t serve a single check last night, and every time he takes a shot (four in the game), he seems bothered by something.

In fact, he didn’t take a single shot on net during the warm-up period.

The theory that Tkachuk is injured was confirmed when the Panthers’ No. 19 was benched for over ten minutes (10:41) in the third period.

Paul Maurice certainly didn’t “benche” his best forward when his team needed a goal.

Tkachuk was often seen on the ice during commercial breaks, only to return to the bench when play resumed.

Even though he was on the ice for the last few minutes – which were chaotic, by the way – Tkachuk is injured, and it seems to be his right shoulder that’s hurting.

After the game, of course, Tkachuk wouldn’t confirm anything about his potential injury.

However, it’s safe to assume that it had something to do with Keegan Kolesar’s hard body check on him in Game 3.

Here’s Tkachuk’s response when asked if that Kolesar check had anything to do with it.

“It won’t come out now.” – Matthew Tkachuk

In short, the Panthers are in trouble on several levels.

I can’t wait to see what happens next, but I think this series is unfortunately over.

Game 5 takes place in Vegas on Tuesday at 8pm.

In a gust

– Crazy as hell.

– Nice win for CF Montreal last night.

– Mason Toye scored CF’s first goal in his new uniform.

– What a shot from ZBG.

– Things are going very well for CF Montreal at home.

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