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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Florida Panthers Gave One Away Against Rangers in Game 3



Florida panthers
New York center Alex Wennberg deflects the puck into the net against Sergei Bobrovsky  in overtime on Sunday in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — Call it grand larceny or simply a lost opportunity, but the New York Rangers had no business beating the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

The Rangers did just enough to survive in Game 3, and, in the end, got an improbable victory thanks to a deflection in front by Alex Wennberg.

As precious as each playoff game is, you cannot afford to give them away.

The Panthers did just that on Sunday.

Whether it costs them in the end remains to be seen.

If Florida ends up losing this series and the Rangers head to the Stanley Cup Final, go right ahead and point at New York’s 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3 as a turning point for the Blueshirts.

Florida, again, controlled the pace and flow of this game.

Even down 4-2 heading into the third, the Panthers had played the better game.

Then came the third, one the Panthers dominated throughout.

Florida got two goals — one from Sasha Barkov, the other from Gus Forsling — to tie the score in relatively quick fashion.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, they could not get No. 3 against Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers.

“Yeah, we’re obviously not happy with the end result,’’ Barkov said following the loss. “But I think there are some good things we can take from this game we can take into the next one. All we have to do is recover now.”

New York coach Peter Laviolette said his team was “under siege’’ in the third, but the Panthers could not deliver the death blow — although Matthew Tkachuk came close in the waning seconds.

Even in overtime, it was mostly Panthers.

ESPN’s Sean McDonough may have put the jinx on the Panthers in the OT period, basically saying if Florida kept up what it was doing, this game would be over pretty quickly.

It was.

Just not the way it should have gone.

Hey, that’s life in the big city.

Or, Sunrise.


“I don’t know if you’re ever too jolly after any overtime,” Maurice said. “You’re just grumbly. Then there will be a break point for me. This was an afternoon game, so, either late tonight or early in the morning, I’ll get back to work and map a plan out.’’

Maurice has had quite the sunny disposition after losses in the playoffs, something which has been well documented either here or elsewhere.

Florida has responded as well. This is the first time this postseason that the Panthers have lost consecutive games in the playoffs — and the first time the team has lost back-to-back games since it wrapped up a 10-game in 17 day stretch back from March-April.

How will the Panthers respond?

Maurice said he does not want his team to just forget about it.

He wants them to stew on this one for a bit, to come out Tuesday in Game 4 ready to get one back and sent this series back to New York tied at 2.

There is plenty of time for the Panthers to pull themselves up and get turn this series in their favor.

As Sam Reinhart said after losing Game 5 to the Bruins, it’s a best-of-7 series for a reason.

The Panthers have the team to come back and win this thing.

They have the games to do it.

But if they do not, Sunday’s loss will be a reason why.

The Panthers have a bad taste in their collective mouths this morning.

The only way to get rid of it is to get back after it on Tuesday night in Game 4.

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Rangers lead Best-of-7 Series 2-1
  • When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • 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: Florida 3, @New York 0; Game 2: @New York 2, Florida 1 OT; Game 3: New York 5, @Florida 4 OT; Game 4: New York at Florida, Tuesday 8 (ESPN): Game 5: Florida at New York, Thursday 8 (ESPN); Game 6*: New York at Florida, Saturday June 1, 8 (ABC); Game 7*: Florida at New York, 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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