Hurricanes aim to slow down Matthew Tkachuk, Panthers

The time has come Carolina Hurricanes to prove their strength

Losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals in overtime, and both at home, they Storms should change their fate on Monday when their series back Florida Panthers resumes in Sunrise, Fla

It Storms head into Game 3 of a best-of-seven series knowing full well that a third straight loss would make it all but impossible to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

“We’ve been kicked in the teeth a lot these past few years, and we’ve always responded,” coach Rod Brind Amour said. “I am sure that we will play the next game.”

The difference in both games was small, but Storms need to find their offensive touch. Carolina has scored just three goals in two games in more than 200 total minutes

Florida goaltender Sergey Bobrovsky has been as different as anyone on the ice. Carolina has excelled Panthers by a margin of 103-86. It Storms 1-0 leads in both games, but an inability to extend them proved costly. Carolina had a 20-1 advantage in shots in the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 loss, but couldn’t score a second goal until then. Panthers There was a draw in the second round

“Obviously we’d like to score some more goals, especially when we’re buzzing like that,” center Jordan Staal said. “We had our chances, we had our looks to score more and they didn’t play.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we had to find ways to make some mojo work. Maybe a little greasy road win will get us going.”

Stopping a runaway train that Panthers it definitely won’t be easy

Florida, vying for the second and final Eastern Conference wild card spot, has been the biggest surprise of the playoffs and appears to be building momentum. Since they fell 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in their opening round, Panthers won nine of 10 games. They have won all six of their playoff overtime games

Bobrovsky took over in net for Game 4 of the series in Boston and has shined ever since, a huge turnaround from his play in the regular season. He has scored two or fewer goals in seven straight games.

“I have conviction,” said Bobrovsky. “We have a great group of guys, again it’s a privilege to be in a group of guys and help these guys out as well.”

It certainly helps Florida’s cause that forward Matthew Tkachuk has found yet another gear in his game.

In both games of this series, Tkachuk scored in overtime. He joins the legendary Maurice Richard as the only players in league history to win each of the first two games of a playoff series in overtime on the road.

Tkachuk has 7 goals and 18 points in 14 playoff games for a playoff-best plus-12.

“He was big for us,” captain Alexander Barkov said of Tkachuk. “Not just scoring goals, not just playing games. It’s all about being a hockey player, being a leader on the team. He does everything as well as he can.”

— Field level media

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