It is not ice, ice, ice, baby.
Instead, the Florida Panthers, who entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the lowest-ranked team, are hotter than a steam bath.
Panthers are taking their talents to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996 with a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at FLA Live Arena on Wednesday.
Matthew Tkachuk scored a power-play goal with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to seal the series sweep for the Panthers.
“We have tons of support now, but I still think not many people believe,” Tkachuk said. “We know we have played really good teams in these playoffs; the next team will be unbelievable as well; the similar feel of being the underdog and trying to prove people wrong again.”
The Panthers will play the Vegas Golden Knights or Dallas Stars in the Final. Vegas leads that best-of-7 series 3-0 with Game 4 on Thursday.
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Aleksander Barkov had two assists, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves for the Panthers, who are the second wild card from the East.
Paul Stastny and Teuvo Teravainen scored for the Hurricanes, who were the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division. Frederik Andersen made 20 saves.
“We know what we have in there; we how to play, we know the right way to play, we know what makes us successful,” Tkachuk said. “Seeing the belief, seeing the calmness to us is something special.”
The Panthers are 11-1 in the last 12 games after trailing 3-1 in the first round versus Boston Bruins.