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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Game 5: Panthers Bring 3-2 Lead on Rangers Home to Sunrise

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The Florida Panthers have been a fantastic road team the past two postseasons and had to be again Thursday if they wanted to take a series lead on the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final.

The Panthers road game was on point.

Anton Lundell scored midway through the third and Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves to lead Florida to a 3-2 win over the Rangers in Game 5 on a sloppy track at Madison Square Garden.

Florida leads 3-2 in the best-of-7 series and will head to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year with a win over the Rangers on Saturday night in Sunrise.

The winner of Game 5 in a 2-2 series has gone on to win the series 79 percent (231-62) of the time.

The Panthers have won consecutive games in this series for the first time; they are also 2-1 at MSG in this series.

Lundell, who had a number of scoring chances, finally cashed in at 10:22 of the third by ripping one from the left circle and through.

After a scoreless first, the Panthers got an early power play to kick off the second.

Only, for the seventh time this postseason, it was the shorthanded Rangers cashing in.

Matthew Tkachuk, who goofed on Chris Kreider just a day before, coughed up the puck at the top of the zone and there was no one in position to catch up as Mika Zibanejad fed Kreider for the breakaway goal.

It was his third shorty of the playoffs.

Florida came back 6 minutes later, Aaron Ekblad created a turnover in the Florida zone to get things going.

Sam Bennett making a pretty no-look pass to Gus Forsling as he shot into the slot.

Forsling drifted to his right and backhanded a shot of Igor Shesterkin to tie it at 1.

Bennett got the game-winner with an empty net goal with 1:52 left.

It was the game-winner because Mika Zibanejad threw a shot off the skate of Alexis Lafreniere and past Bobrovsky with 49.7 seconds remaining.

The Rangers kept coming in the final seconds, but could not tie it up.

GOALS OF GAME 5

  • Rangers 1, Panthers 0 (2:04, 2nd SH): Matthew Tkachuk gives up the puck on a soft cross-line pass and Chris Kreider starts the drive up ice — and finishes it with a breakaway backhander against Sergei Bobrovsky.
  • Panthers 1, Rangers 1 (8:21, 2nd): Sam Bennett drives into the New York zone and sends a slick no-look pass to a streaking Gus Forsling who slices one off Igor Shesterkin and through.
  • Panthers 2, Rangers 1 (10:22, 3rd): Eetu Luostarinen gets the charge up ice going, Vladimir Tarasenko plays blocker in front of Shesterkin and Anton Lundell’s shot from the left circle goes under the goalie’s glove for Florida’s first lead of the night.
  • Panthers 3, Rangers 1 (18:08, 3rd EN): Sam Bennett weaves his way through traffic and roofs one into the empty net.
  • Panthers 3, Rangers 2 (19:10, 3rd): Mika Zibanejad fires one off the skate of Alexis Lafreniere to make it a game.

GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 5

1. Sam Bennett, Florida

2. Anton Lundell, Florida

3. Gus Forsling, Florida

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. NEW YORK RANGERS (MET1)
Panthers Lead Best-of-7 Series 3-2
GAME 6

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