During the TNT pregame show, Charles Barkley chastised the folks at Boston Garden before Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and Celtics for leaving the ice in the building.
As Sir Charles noted, there is not reason for that building to still have ice, not after the Florida Panthers ended the Bruins’ season.
The Heat continued what the Panthers started at the Garden, winning the opener of that series 123-116 as Jimmy Butler came up big in the second half and ended with 35 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 6 steals.
With the Panthers winning the final three games of their opening round series in Boston, South Florida teams have now won their past four games at the Garden.
Not too shabby.
Matthew Tkachuk may have split allegiances here as he attended high school in St. Louis with Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and said he was “going to check out” the series as the two teams play on alternate days.
On Wednesday, the Panthers wore t-shirts supporting the Heat on their flight to Raleigh for Game 1.
“I think it’s great for South Florida, we’re wondering what we’re going to watch (Wednesday) with no hockey on and we’re going to be watching the Heat play,’’ Tkachuk said.
“For South Florida fans, every night for the next two weeks, one of their teams is on. That makes for pretty fun night when we win.
“The buzz around where I live in Fort Lauderdale is great for us, great for the Heat. It is super fun. I did go to school with Jayson Tatum and everyone we went to school with is the same: Jayson tonight, me tomorrow. I know who they are rooting for and I hope I can take care of the hockey part. The basketball is going to be a great series.”
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Members of the 1996 Florida Panthers know their spot in franchise history is secure so they have been waiting for another team to make a deep run in the playoffs.
It has been a long wait, sure, but here we are.
Also have some new details on the rubber rat craze and a little on how it got so big.
This story is exclusive to our subscribers — we have not done many of these during the playoffs — so if you haven’t joined us, now is a great time to do so!
— So, why do teams from South Florida share their names with teams from North Carolina? I always thought the soccer team in Fort Lauderdale should have gone with Tar Heels.
— After almost a week off, we are finally kicking off this series tonight.
— The Panthers do not have a good history of playing in Raleigh as the Carolina Hurricanes have made PNC Arena — by any name — a House of Horrors. There has been a few of memorable moments for the Panthers over the years in Raleigh although all of that is ancient history.
— The Panthers and Hurricanesplay a similar brand of hockey after Paul Maurice stuck to his word and the team worked through some early season problems.
— Eric Staal said he will find some good places for his teammates to eat, but adds he is over any talk of there being a reunion of sorts in Raleigh when he returns on Wednesday with the Panthers.
— Ryan Lomberg said seeing the Panthers win made it a touch easier being out of the lineup. But he is ready to get back into the lineup. Looks like he is back for Game 1.
— Even the toughest critic has to be happy to see Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad being able to finally be part of a deep playoff run with the Florida Panthers.
— A lot of video is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including Game 5 postgame reaction from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matthew Tkachuk, Nick Cousins and Sasha Barkov.
There is even more from post-practice in Sunrise and arrival in Raleigh from Maurice, Tkachuk, Barkov, Bobrovsky, Bill Zito, Brandon Montour and Josh Mahura.
To see all the videos, you can click the embedded videos below or head directly to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
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NHL NEWS/NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Arizona Coyotes said on Wednesday that they would stay in Tempe for this coming season and play a second year at Arizona State after their arena plan got voted down on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes pitches Kansas City as a landing spot for the Coyotes — or the new Scouts.
— Could the Coyotes stay in Arizona? Craig Morgan has some arena ideas although the team appears to be out of time.
— The Boston Bruins fired Bruce Cassidy last year and it was probably time. But is it also time for the Bs to start moving some core players out?
— Speaking of Cassidy, could he be the keys to the Vegas Golden Knights beating the Stars?
— Look who is on TNT’s coverage tonight? It is new Philadelphia Flyers president of hockey operations Keith Jones.
— The Washington Capitals are looking for a new coach. Could it be Toronto assistant Spencer Carberry?
— Could the Colorado Avalanche use Devon Toews and Samuel Girard as trade chips?
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
PANTHERS (WC2) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (MET1)
- When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 95.6 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Series Schedule — Game 1: Thursday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 2:Saturday at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 3: Monday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 4: Wednesday, May 24 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Friday, May 26 at Carolina, 8 (TNT); Game 6*:Sunday, May 28 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Tuesday, May 30 at Carolina, 8 (TNT). *If Necessary
- Season Series: (Carolina won 2-1): @Florida 3, Carolina 0 (Nov.9);@Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30); Carolina 6, @Florida 4 (April 13)
- All-Time Regular Season Series: Carolina/Hartford leads 71-46-10, 11 ties
- Postseason History: First Meeting
- How They Got Here — Carolina: d. New York Islanders in 6; d. New Jersey Devils in 5. Florida: d. Boston Bruins in 7; d. Toronto Maple Leafs in 5.