"Keep the forecheck up, shoot the puck" - Matthew Tkachuk on team mindset in third period that kept them going in Game 5

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Matthew Tkachuk on team mindset in third period

The Florida Panthers beat the NY Ranger 3-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to take the series lead. After the game, Panthers alternate captain Matthew Tkachuk opened up about his team’s mindset in the third period of the crucial matchup.

When NHL Network's Billy Jaffe asked about the changes the coaching staff wanted with a 1-1 tie going into the period, Matthew Tkachuk spoke of his team’s mindset and how they opted for an aggressive forecheck:

“Why would we change the thing, we're playing really well right now. Keep the four-track up, keep hitting. Pucks in behind, make them change sides. Shoot the puck, try to square the next one. I thought we did a great job with that.”

Tkachuk also mentioned Gustav Forsling’s goal in the second period and how it changed the momentum of the game.

“I thought the guys in our next few shifts were so good to get momentum back, Forzy [Gustav Forsling] with a huge goal there a few minutes after, and then we took over," Tkachuk said. "So, that was a huge goal from Forzy. It was a great win by us. Gritty effort. I'm very proud of the guys."

The defenseman scored at 8:21 in the second period, tying the game after Chris Kreifer's goal at 2:04. Anton Lundell scored the second goal at 10:22 of the third period while Sam Bennett made the third at 18:08.

In an attempt to catch up, the Rangers' Alexis Lafreniere scored the second goal for the team with less than a minute left on the clock. However, time ran out before NY could mount another attack, leading to their opponents' victory.

Matthew Tkachuk labels Panthers' core ‘young’

During the same interview, Billy Jaffe commented on how calm the Panthers seemed in their approach to the game and asked if this calmness came from their veteran experience. Matthew Tkachuk pointed out that the term "veteran" might not fully apply because many of their players were relatively young.

“It's tricky using the word veteran because we have so many guys that are in their mid-20s,” Tkachuk said. “To me, I feel like I'm really young. Our whole core of guys, I feel like it's very young. But I guess we've been playing for 7, 8, 9 years now, whatever it is.”

He further acknowledged that they had been playing together for several years, long enough to accumulate valuable experience, including going through playoff runs.

“So we've been through some stuff," Matthew Tkachuk said. "We've been through a good playoff run. We've been through some stuff throughout the last two years. And we're super calm, but we don't play calm.
“We play in your face. We play hard. It seems like we might be running around a little bit, but that's just us being on our game. I really like their effort.”

The Panthers lead the series 3-2 and will face the Rangers in Game 6 on Saturday, in hopes of a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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