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Ice Hockey

Florida Panthers Beat Carolina Hurricanes to Reach Stanley Cup Final

The Florida Panthers haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup final since 1996, but their streak of bad luck is finally over. They completed the sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday thanks to Matthew Tkachuk’s last-minute goal. Tkachuk scored the final goal for the Panthers with just 4.9 seconds left in regulation, forcing a 4-3 win for Florida. This marks his third game-winner of the series after he scored the overtime winners in Games 1 and 2, and it brings his postseason total to nine goals and 12 assists in 16 games. Tkachuk scored twice against the Hurricanes, but he wasn’t the only one responsible for Florida’s latest win. It was also a big night for Anthony Duclair and Ryan Lomberg, who netted one goal apiece. There was a lot of uncertainty leading to Wednesday’s game, but the Panthers were off to a good start after it was confirmed that the team’s captain Aleksander Barkov would return in Game 4. He was thrilled after their latest victory, but the team’s biggest challenge is still ahead of them. “It’s hard to explain right now. Everything just happened so quickly. It means a lot. It definitely does… It hasn’t been easy and nobody said it’s going to be easy,” said Barkov. This marks the first time since 1996 that the Florida Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup final, and they’ll either face the Vegas Golden Knights or the Dallas Stars in the next round of the competition.