NHL playoffs: Matthew Tkachuk promises Panthers will force Game 7 vs. Bruins

Matthew Tkachuk had a message for his team — and the Bruins — after his overtime heroics in Game 5.

Matthew Tkachuk was the overtime hero for the Panthers in Game 5 against the bruins in Round 1 of the NHL playoffs. (Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images)
Matthew Tkachuk was the overtime hero for the Panthers in Game 5 against the bruins in Round 1 of the NHL playoffs. (Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images)

Matthew Tkachuk draws inevitable comparisons to his brother Brady and father Keith, but apparently he has some Mark Messier in him, too.

The Florida Panthers shared footage of Tkachuk receiving the game puck after he scored the overtime winner in their win against the Boston Bruins in Game 5, capturing a moment when he basically made a guarantee to push the series to a Game 7. Granted, Tkachuk didn’t go full Messier or Joe Namath and use the word "guarantee."

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

“Boys, remember this room. We’ll be back for Game 7,” Tkachuk said.

Should we deduct a few swagger points because Tkachuk didn’t make his soft Game 7 guarantee directly to the media? Perhaps dock a few more because he didn’t guarantee a Game 7 win?

Such talk seems a little steep for many of us who frequently ask for more flavor from the vanilla, cliche-ridden comments we usually spoon through from NHL players.

Advertisement

As far as comments to the press, Tkachuk discussed forcing a Game 7 in less dramatic terms.

“Now they’re coming down to Florida,” Tkachuk said, via ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “We know there can’t possibly be a Game 7 in their mind right now and everybody here in Boston’s minds. So it’s up to us to see you guys back here in a few days.”

It’s not quite as explosive as talking about how Zack Kassian should “stay off the tracks” if he doesn’t want to take a big hit when Tkachuk was stirring the point during a memorable “Battle of Alberta” a few years back, but Tkachuk’s nonetheless making things more interesting.

Tkachuk has been a playoff force so far

Much like those who’ve made memorable sports guarantees, Tkachuk is walking the walk, not just talking the talk — at least so far.

Advertisement

Through five games, even a stout defensive team like the Bruins are struggling to slow Tkachuk down. He’s scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in five playoff contests, most notably the overtime winner in Game 5.

Meanwhile, this between-the-legs goal highlights how unusual a talent Tkachuk is. It combines his knack for creating offense in the dirtiest areas around the net with world-class hands to casually score a tremendous tally.

Inevitably, he’s also been in the thick of shenanigans before, during and after the whistle. Most memorably, Tkachuk enraged Linus Ullmark enough that the Bruins goalie dropped his gloves hoping to fight the star pest.

Overall, Tkachuk has drawn five penalties while taking four with 16 penalty minutes so far in this series. Generally, his team will want a more favorable ratio of penalties drawn and taken — having their best player in the penalty box is far from ideal — but that’s the price of doing business with a rambunctious winger like Tkachuk.

Sometimes that cost involves giving arguably the greatest regular season team ever some bulletin board material.