NHL Series – hockey: “Legendary games”, writing Matthew Tkachuk in history
Three match-winning goals in four league final matches. Before Wednesday night, only one other player had accomplished that feat in NHL history. Matthew Tkachuk can now boast of sharing that mark with Dustin Byfuglien.
Mike Bossy (4 game-winning goals in six games in 1982-83 and three in six in 1983-84), Jeff Friesen (3-for-7 in 2002-03) and Sidney Crosby (3-for-7 in 2015-16 ) also played a big part in pushing their team to the grand final with three game-winning goals (or more in Bossy’s case!), but all three men achieved it as the streak stretched beyond the game.
Of the lot, only Bossy in 1983-84 did not take top prizes in the next round. The Islanders’ quadruple Stanley Cup push was stopped by a certain player wearing number 99.
If the names associated with Tkachuk on this list are some of the biggest in hockey, Anthony Duclair has heaped praise on his teammate after the Panthers win on Wednesday night.
“He’s a big player and he makes big plays at the right times. Honestly, he’s a great player. Those are legendary plays that he makes. That’s our leader since game number 1. His strength, his leadership, like he stands by every one of his appearances and he wins his games. Hats off to him and everyone else too,” Duclair said.
And it is not only Duclair who is impressed by Tkachuk’s achievements. Those teammates are certainly impressed, but not surprised, as his commitment on the ice and his ability to rise in the big moments have become second nature to him.
“I’m not even surprised [de voir Matthew Tkachuk inscrire le but de la victoire], he does everything, Aaron Ekblad hinted after the meeting. He works hard on the forecheck, he makes the right play defensively, he is willing to do the little things, block shots and he scores big goals. Hats off to him, to him, to Bob, to Barky, all the players in the line are working hard, but there are still some ahead of us. »
“It’s unbelievable, we showed our resilience,” explained goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, himself a big story in this series against the Hurricanes. It is a huge goal that we are lucky to have chucky. He has been good all season and in the playoffs he knows how to score big goals, we are lucky to have him. »
Meanwhile, captain Aleksander Barkov praised Tkachuk’s off-ice impact upon his arrival with the Panthers,
“He’s great,” Barkov said, laughing, a little uncomfortable answering the question next to his friend. He arrived and from his first message it is as if he had been with us for 10 years. He is an incredible addition to the team. Everyone sees what he brings on the ice, but what he brings off the ice is incredible,” added the man who became the first Finnish captain to lead his team to the final Stanley Cup in NHL history.
In light of the praise from his teammates and members of the media, Tkachuk wanted to redirect attention to his team by giving credit for the winning goal to his teammates.
“I passed the puck to Rinho and he fired a trajectory that hit the shoulder and then Barky made a nice feint to freeze everyone for a moment and give me an opportunity. It’s real teamwork. It was easy for me to complete thanks to their work, ”assessed the hero of the time.
Even in the Hurricanes locker room, respect for Tkachuk was on a few lips, including captain and hapless late penalty shooter Jordan Staal.
“He was very good. We see that he can score goals and make our mistakes pay off. He stays near the net longer than some others and he reads the game well. He also has good hands to finish the job,” noted the whose third minor penalty during the playoffs on his team will have been one too many.