Matthew Tkachuk debut season with the Florida Panthers was obviously a success. On Friday night, he was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy which goes to the NHL MVP.
Although Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is expected to be the unanimous winner of the Hart, being named a finalist is quite an honor for Tkachuk.
McDavid and David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins are the other finalists announced on Friday not long before Florida visits Toronto in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Hart Trophy is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Tkachuk, who was acquired in blockbuster July trade with Calgary, ended the regular season seventh in scoring with 109 points off 40 goals.
It was the second consecutive 100-point season for Tkachuk.
Tkachuk was also named MVP of the NHL All-Star Game held in Sunrise.
He was the fourth player in NHL history to record consecutive 100-point seasons after changing teams during the offseason – a feat last achieved by Jimmy Carson (Edmonton) and Wayne Gretzky (Los Angeles) in 1988‑89.
This is the first time Tkachuk has been a Hart Trophy finalist.
He joins Pavel Bure (1999-2000) and John Vanbiesbrouck (1993-94) as Hart finalists in franchise history. Both of those players placed third.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
PANTHERS (WC2) AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (ATL2)
GAME 5 (Florida Leads 3-1)
- When: Friday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Maple Leafs Favored: Money Line (-170); Puck line (-1.5, +140); Over/Under 6.5 (-125/+105). Series: Florida -425/+325.
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: Florida 4, @Toronto 2; Game 2: Florida 3, @Toronto 2; Game 3: @Florida 3, Toronto 2 (OT); Game 4: Toronto 2, @Florida 1; Game 5: Friday at Toronto (TNT), 7; Game 6*: Sunday, May 14 at Florida (TBA); Game 7*:May 16 at Toronto (TNT). (*) – If Necessary
- How They Got Here: Toronto d. Tampa Bay 4-2; Florida d. Boston 4-3
- Season Series (Toronto won 3-1): Maple Leafs 5, @Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); @Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23); Panthers 3, @Maple Leafs 2 OT (March 29); Maple Leafs 2, @Panthers 1 OT (April 10)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Toronto leads 48-36-7, 7 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting