It seemed improbable, maybe impossible. Down 3-1 against the greatest regular season team in NHL history, the Florida Panthers were written off by the hockey world.
The only group that believed in the Panthers were themselves.
The Panthers shocked the hockey world tonight, defeating the Presidents’ Trophy winning Boston Bruins in Game 7 overtime, 4-3 to advance to the second round.
After clawing back in the series to force Game 7 in Boston, the Panthers once again found themselves in a hole tonight, trailing 3-2 with exactly a minute left in regulation.
Brandon Montour kept his team’s season alive, rifling a shot past Jeremy Swayman to tie the game at 3-3.
With the late equalizer, this series went to overtime for the second time – both being elimination scenarios for the Panthers in Boston.
Winner takes all overtime in Game 7. Next bounce wins. Losers go home, winners move on.
The extra frame saw both teams get their fair share of chances to win the series, but the two goaltenders kept their nets shut.
Boston had a few early chances on Sergei Bobrovsky, while Florida had two great looks in front of Swayman from Matther Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe.
The final shift of the game came from Florida’s three best players in the series.
A great forecheck from Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk prevented the Bruins from breaking out of their own zone. After an aggressive puck battle behind Boston’s net, Bennett fed Verhaeghe at the faceoff circle and the Panthers forward scored his second series clinching ot goal for the Panthers in consecutive years.
The Panthers just snuck into the postseason, clinching their playoff berth before the final game of the regular season. The odds were against them as they took on a Bruins team that set the NHL record for both wins and points.
Florida will head to Toronto for the second-round to take on a Maple Leafs team that just got over a 19-year playoff series winless streak.