Eastern Conference final Game 1: Florida Panthers 3, New York Rangers 0

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final goes to the Florida Panthers, who beat the New York Rangers 3-0 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Sergei Bobrovsky had a 23-save shutout, while Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett scored goals.

Game 2 is at 8 p.m. Friday

Panthers’ insurance goal waived off

Oliver Ekman-Larsson appeared to have doubled Florida’s lead 8:45 into the third period, but the goal was waived off due to goaltender interference.

While the interference was caused by New York’s Ryan Lindgren pushing Florida’s Ryan Lomberg into Igor Shesterkin, the officials ruled that the contact portion was moot because Lomberg was already in the blue paint without a loose puck before the contact, which was enough to overturn the goal.

A relatively quiet second period

Sorry I didn’t have more for you in the middle frame, but the score remains 1-0 Florida after 40 minutes.

The Rangers have 34 seconds left on a power play to begin the third but the Panthers’ penalty kill has been steady so far in its first attempt.

Florida leads 18-11 in shots on goal — neither team has had more than 10 shots on goal in a given period.

We’ll see how desperate the Rangers come out in the third.

First intermission thoughts

That first period probably could not have worked out better for the Panthers.

The defense was steady as usual, clogging lanes and not giving the Rangers many clean looks. New York had just five shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, although their best scoring chance arguably was defenseman Braden Schneider’s breakaway late in the first period that hit the right post.

With that, some numbers of note:

23-18: Panthers edge in shot attempts (including 9-5 shots on goal and 10-7 in scoring chances)

7: Blocked shots by each team, with Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe each blocking two for Florida.

12: Hits for Florida, including a team-high three from Sam Bennett.

Matthew Tkachuk opens scoring for Panthers

After a relatively quiet first 15 minutes of action, Matthew Tkachuk gets the Panthers on the board first with a wrist shot from just above the left circle with 3:34 left in the opening period.

Gustav Forsling and Carter Verhaeghe got the assists.

It was Tkachuk’s fifth goal and team-leading 15th point of the playoffs

Series schedule

Game 1: Tonight

Game 2: Friday, New York’s Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN+

Game 3: Sunday, May 26, Sunrise’s Amerant Bank Arena, 3 p.m., ABC, ESPN+

Game 4: Tuesday, Sunrise’s Amerant Bank Arena, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN+

Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday, May 30, New York’s Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN+

Game 6 (if necessary): Saturday, June 1, Sunrise’s Amerant Bank Arena, 8 p.m., ABC, ESPN+

Game 7 (if necessary): Monday, June 3, New York’s Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN+

Pregame reading

Need to catch up ahead of Game 1? Here are the highlights of the Miami Herald’s coverage over the past few days.

Matthew Tkachuk hasn’t had the loud playoff moments like last year, but he’s still producing

Another big goaltending battle is on the horizon. This time, it’s Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Igor Shesterkin

Bill Zito epitomizes the “no ego” mentality of the team he has built

Aleksander Barkov is playing like peak Aleksander Barkov in the playoffs

Anton Lundell, just 22 years old, is thriving in the big playoff moments

Gustav Forsling’s heroics have finally brought him firmly into the limelight

After two rough years, Oliver Ekman-Larsson cherishing being part of a playoff run

Three keys to the series for the Panthers to have success

How the Panthers are staying composed throughout the tense moments of the playoffs