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Around the NHL: Panthers reach Stanley Cup Final for first time since 1996, Stars stay alive against Golden Knights

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Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
10 months ago
It’s been a little over a week since we did our last look Around the NHL, but one series is already done, and the other is on the brink of completion.
Let’s dig in…

The Golden Knights lead the Stars 3-1:

If Dallas wants to make the Stanley Cup Finals, they’ll have to pull off a feat that has only been done four times in hockey, and five times in all North American sports – the daunted reverse sweep.
After digging themselves a big hole, going 3-0 down, Dallas finally won their first game of the series on home ice on Thursday evening, as they beat Vegas 3-2 in overtime. With that being said, the series shifts back to Vegas on Saturday, with Sin City having three more opportunities to close out the series.
The saddening part of this is that had the Edmonton Oilers beat Vegas, our beloved Oilers likely would have made easy work of the team from Texas.
To make a deep run in the playoffs, one component is a goaltender that gets hot. When Laurent Brossoit went down with an injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, 27-year-old Adin Hill stepped in.
You know the story of how he stole quite a few games against the Oilers, including the decisive Game 6 where he saved 38 shots on 40 attempts. Well, he’s done the exact same thing in the Dallas series, owning a .943 save percentage in the four games.
Speaking of a goaltender that got hot…

The Panthers beat the Hurricanes 4-0:

In one of the first Around the NHL’s I wrote in Round 1, I noted that Florida didn’t stand a chance against the powerhouse Boston Bruins. Over a month later, they are four games away from winning their first Stanley Cup.
It looked bleak at one point in the first round though, as they were down 3-1 against one of the best regular-season teams of all time. In steps goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who is now 11-1 in the playoffs after starting Game 5 of the first round.
His first game against Boston didn’t look great, as he allowed five goals on 30 shots in relief. However, he had a .906 save percentage in the remaining three games to pull off the upset.
Bobrovsky was okay in the first round, but he absolutely carried the Panthers in the second round. He had a .943 save percentage in the five games that it took to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Carolina series was even better, as he had a .966 save percentage in the four games he played, despite facing more shots. This included a 63-save performance in Game 1 of the series, where the game was just over 12 seconds away from reaching fifth overtime.
The Stanley Cup Finals will more than likely be a battle of the goaltenders, as Adin Hill of the Vegas Golden Knights and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers will face off… unless Dallas pulls off the miracle reverse sweep.
The good news is that Leon Draisaitl’s 13 goals are still the highest amount in the playoffs, with Dallas’ Roope Hintz’s watermark of 10 sitting behind the German. Matthew Tkachuk has nine, so if Dallas goes down on Saturday, Draisaitl has a good shot of scoring the most in the 2023 playoffs.

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