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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Game 1: Florida Panthers Shut Down the Rangers, Win ECF Opener



Panthers rangers

The defensive play of the Florida Panthers smothered the Lightning, the Bruins and, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday, the New York Rangers.

The Panthers shut things down throughout the night, stifling New York from doing much of anything save for a couple waves of action in a 3-0 win in Game 1.

Florida is now 3-0 in Game 1s of the Eastern Conference final in franchise history — with all of the wins coming on the road.

Matthew Tkachuk gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 3:34 remaining in the first, his wrist shot with Adam Fox in front from above the left circle beating Igor Shesterkin.

From there, Sergei Bobrovsky shut the Rangers down, making 23 saves.

This was the first time the Rangers were shutout at MSG in a playoff game since 2016.

The Panthers got their insurance goal with 3:48 left when a pass from Carter Verhaeghe clipped the stick of New York’s Alexis Lafrieniere with Shesterkin working his way back into position.

Sam Bennett made it 3-0 with an empty-net goal.

Florida appeared to take a 2-0 lead much earlier.

At 8:45 of the third, Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on a long shot, but Ryan Lomberg made contact with Shesterkin in the crease.

Although Ryan Lindgren made contact with Lomberg, it was ruled he had already entered the crease on his own and the goal was pulled off the board.

The Florida defense was on its game throughout but especially in the second period.

The Rangers got off four shots in the opening two minutes of the period down 1-0, but Bobrovsky did not see another until there was 3:40 left — a span of 14:23.

Florida’s shot suppression was intense in the first two series of these playoffs, but New York was not expected to be held down as much as it was.

— The Panthers are 5-1 when scoring first this postseason and 14-2 in the playoffs dating to last year.

— Florida has won seven straight ECF games dating back to Game 6 of the 1996 Conference final against the Penguins. Florida has also won its past four road games in the ECF going back to Game 7 against Pittsburgh.


  • Panthers 1, Rangers 0 (16:26, 1st): Carter Verhaeghe gets Gus Forsling going as he brings the puck through the neutral zone into New York ice — then drops a pass for Matthew Tkachuk who wrists one from above the left circle.
  • Panthers 2, Rangers 0 (16:12, 3rd): This goal goes to Verhaeghe, but it went off the stick of Alexis Lafreniere as Igor Shesterkin was trying to get back into position after playing the puck outside the crease.
  • Panthers 3, Rangers 0 (18:41, 3rd EN): Sam Bennett sends the Ranger faithful out to beat the traffic/make their train/get a cab.


1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida

2. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida

3. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida

Panthers lead Best-of-7 Series 1-0
  • When: Friday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • National TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Panthers 3, Rangers 0; Game 2: Panthers at Rangers, Friday 8 (ESPN); Game 3:Rangers at Panthers, Sunday 3 (ABC); Game 4: Rangers at Panthers, Tuesday 8 (ESPN): Game 5*: Panthers at Rangers, Thursday May 30, 8 (ESPN); Game 6*: Rangers at Panthers, Saturday June 1, 8 (ABC); Game 7*: Panthers at Rangers, Monday June 3, 8 (ESPN). (*) — If Necessary.
  • How They Got Here: Florida d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2; Rangers d. Washington 4-0, Carolina 4-2.
  • Last Season vs. Rangers — Regular Season: Rangers won 3-0
  • This Season (Panthers Won 2-1) — At Florida: Panthers 4 Rangers 3 (Dec. 29). At MSG: Panthers 4, Rangers 2 (March 4); Rangers 4, Panthers 3 OT (March 23).
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Rangers lead 61-34-8, 6 ties
  • Postseason History: Rangers Lead 1-0 (1997 1st)

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