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Panthers’ Tkachuk Pulls Mini-Messier; Guarantees Game 6 Victory



Boston Bruins

Florida Panthers Game 5 overtime hero Matthew Tkachuk has guaranteed that he and his teammates will beat the Boston Bruins in Game 6 tonight and head back to Boston for potential Game 7 on Sunday.

It wasn’t exactly New York Rangers captain Mark Messier guaranteeing a Game 6 win over the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Final, but it sure had that feel for the Panthers inn the visitors’ dressing room at TD Garden after Tkachuk scored 6:05 into overtime to give the Panthers a 4-3 win and force a Game 6.

“Boys, Remember this room. We’ll be back here for 7,’’ Tkachuk said after he received the traditional team game puck from defenseman Brandon Montour.

For those youngsters out there who aren’t familiar with Messier’s guarantee in 1994, here’s a quick video doc of that and him and his Rangers teammates pulling off the epic comeback on their bitter rivals (the current Rangers could ironically use ‘Moose’ right about now in their current series with the Devils).

Of course this Florida Panthers team did not enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Stanley Cup favorites. They just made it to the dance as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, they’ve hung with a 2022-23 Boston Bruins that entered the postseason as, statistically, the greatest regular team ever, and have a chance to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Stanley Cup playoffs history.

Matthew Tkachuk has basically become this team’s Mark Messier, leading the emotionally and on the scoreboard so, while Boston Bruins fans may cringe and scoff at his prediction, he has earned the right to make it.

“That guy is a — and then you put a long string of profanity — gamer,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said when describing Tkachuk after Game 5. “Is he not a gamer?

“I got to see him a lot in Calgary when I was in Winnipeg and it drove me crazy how he could just, out of nowhere, pull a puck across. What, are there 700 guys in the league? Maybe 640 jam that thing as fast as they can and lose it. He just pulls it across. He’s just a … gamer.

“Use your own words. Use Xs.’’

Well, we will find out tonight if the bleeping gamer gave his teammates the spark and faith they need to force a Game 7 or gave the Boston Bruins some bulletin board material and extra motivation to end the Panthers’ season.


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