Sam Bennett and other Florida Panthers share same mentality on being 1 game away from Stanley Cup Finals 

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Florida Panthers share same mentality on being one game away from Stanley Cup Finals

The Florida Panthers beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday. With this win, the Panthers have a 3-2 lead in the series.

During the post-game press conference, Panthers’ Sam Bennett was asked to share his thoughts about being just one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals. He mentioned his team is staying focused on the next game as they still have work to do:

“I don’t think we’ve thought about it at all. We’ve got business to take care of still. We’ve got Game 6 at home,” Bennett said.

Similarly, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky also downplayed it when asked about being one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals. He insisted that the team isn't getting ahead of themselves. They're focused on the present moment, taking things step by step:

“We don’t think that far,” Bobrovsky said. “We think about one moment at a time. Right now, we just enjoy this moment.”

Captain Aleksander Barkov spoke of his team’s effort and the amount of trust they have in each other. Despite being one win away from the Cup Finals for the second consecutive year, Barkov mentioned that the team is not thinking about that:

“Our foundation and playing style is defense first,” Barkov said. “It’s all about hard work. We just believe in each other. Right now, you just need to recover and think about that. And then when the game comes, you think about the game. So that's all we can do right now. We don't want to think too much ahead right now.”

Alexander Barkov opens up on Florida Panthers’ third-period play

During the same interview, the Florida Panthers captain was asked to comment on their ability to keep things under control in the third period of games. In response, Barkov mentioned the importance of maintaining focus and avoiding mistakes in tight games, which has come with results for his team:

“Obviously, we know it's a tight game, third period. Don't do anything stupid, but at the same time, just do what we do best and hang on to the puck and try to play as much as possible in their zone,” Barkov said.

(from 3:04 mark)

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He mentioned that despite the opponent's strong push, they tried to maintain control of the puck and play in the opponent's zone while remaining active defensively:

“And obviously, they're a really good team, so they're going to have their push and they're going to have their chances, so we need to defend as well. So it's a good overall game,” he added.

Next up, the Panthers will host the Rangers at Amerant Bank Arena on Saturday. A win in Game 6 will guarantee Florida a ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals, while a Rangers win will force a deciding Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

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