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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Matthew Tkachuk Makes Statement in Game 5 Loss to Oilers



Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk reacts after scoring a goal against Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner during the second period of Game 5 on Tuesday night in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

SUNRISE — Matthew Tkachuk formally introduced himself to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night.

The problem?

His big game was in vain.

Tkachuk scored his first goal in 10 games and assisted another yet his Florida Panthers lost 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

That swagger Tkachuk brought into Tuesday night’s game will have to be brought back to Edmonton for Game 6.

“Oh, he was fantastic,” coach Paul Maurice said. “He scored a huge goal and then that line was on fire. The last thing you want is him with the puck on his stick in the slot.”

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With the Panthers down 3-0, Tkachuk injected life into his team by picking up a puck in the slot from Evan Rodrigues and wiring it past Stuart Skinner 6:53 into the second period.

He worked his magic again 4:04 into the third, setting up Oliver Ekman-Larsson for his goal which brought the Panthers back within a goal.

“He was unbelievable tonight,” Sam Bennett said. “He elevated his game and the boys followed. So we needed that from him for sure.”

Tkachuk breathed life into the Panthers every time he was on the ice in the third period.

He was near the front of the net creating chances, causing chaos in front of the net, trying to do something to help get the Panthers back in the game.

Tkachuk and the Panthers just could not finish the job.

“No. I think it’s everybody. Everybody really wanted it,” Tkachuk said, shifting the praise away from himself after Florida’s third-period barrage.

“I think we had a good push when it was five-on-five. I thought everybody played a solid five-on-five the second half of the game, but we gave up four goals at the end of the second. It’s tough to win like that. It felt similar to that game against the Rangers except for not ultimately tying it late, but we had a good push.”

The Panthers led 10-4 in shots in the third period and largely controlled play from Tkachuk’s goal in the second period, but the hole they dug themselves was just too big.

Florida now has to hope for another signature performance from Tkachuk to close the series out in Edmonton.

“It’s tough, especially at this stage of where you’re at in the series,” Tkachuk said. “We’ve got another crack at it on Friday. We did a really good job at the beginning of the series of building that lead, so really nothing changes from tonight’s mindset.
“We’re up 3-2 going back to Edmonton. Couple days to get ready to go for that and get back healthy and rested and ready to go.”

More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2

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