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Panthers: Rangers-Panthers Game 5 takeaways, early look at Game 6...

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Published Time: 31.05.2024 - 11:13:50 Modified Time: 31.05.2024 - 11:13:50

Above all, they found ways to reach the net front while consistently ensuring the Rangers struggled in that department, beyond the late goal Alexis Lafreniere scored to cut it to a one-goal margin. Panthers



Matthew Tkachuk describes the Panthers determination to move the puck after being up a goal in Game 5 vs. the Rangers. (1:38)

The Panthers controlled possession. They made it difficult for the Rangers to find the needed time to get settled in the offensive zone over the final two periods.

Above all, they found ways to reach the net front while consistently ensuring the Rangers struggled in that department, beyond the late goal Alexis Lafreniere scored to cut it to a one-goal margin.

If not for Igor Shesterkin, it's possible the Panthers could have won by a larger margin and head into a Game 6 that could see them return to a consecutive Stanley Cup final for the first time in their team's history.

Exercising patience has been crucial for the Panthers during these playoffs. Look no further than the events that led to an empty-net goal. They set up in front of Sergei Bobrovsky's net before forechecking and pressuring the Rangers into a mistake, en route to grabbing a two-goal lead. If they replicate that formula consistently in Game 6, the Panthers will become the first team to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final.

0:42Sam Bennett's empty-net goal pads Panthers' lead late

Sam Bennett wrists in a goal on an empty net to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead vs. the Rangers.

Watching Lafreniere get near the net and score did more than cut the lead to 3-2 with less than a minute left. It was one of the few times the Rangers could really get set in the offensive zone while having a player in a position to grab a goal in a part of the ice the Panthers largely worked to take away. Is that repeatable in future games?

Finding openings was a challenge for the Rangers once the second period started. They went from 11 shots in the first period to a total of 11 more in the next 32 minutes of game time. They finished with 27, and quite a few of them were from distance.

Even with those 11 first-period shots, Natural Stat Trick's metrics show the Rangers had a 46% shot-share in 5-on-5 play. An inability to consistently gain possession was further compounded by the fact that the Panthers broke through for 18 high-danger chances, while allowing only seven high-danger chances for the Rangers. One example of that was the Sam Reinhart shot at the doorstep that Shesterkin stopped with 5:49 left.

Another item that didn't help was the Rangers, who have the second-best power-play unit of the four remaining teams, drew just one penalty; however, they get bonus points for a short-handed goal from Chris Kreider, his first tally of the series.

Gustav Forsling. This goes beyond the fact he scored the game-tying goal. What Forsling did in Game 5 is an extension of what he's done this season and how he's emerged as one of the Panthers' most important players.

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