Five telling stats from the Panthers’ Eastern Conference final Game 1 win vs. the Rangers

The Florida Panthers have taken the early lead in their Eastern Conference final series against the New York Rangers, winning Game 1 3-0 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his second career postseason shutout, and Florida got goals from Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Bennett.

Beyond that, there were a slew of notable stats and figures that helped provide a bigger context of what Florida accomplished in the game.

Here are five of those stats.

8-1: After his 23-save shutout on Wednesday, Bobrovsky is now 8-1 in career playoff starts against the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner. He helped the Columbus Blue Jackets sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019, went 3-1 against the Boston Bruins last season to help Florida beat Boston in seven games (Bobrovsky did not start the first three games of that Bruins series) and now has the first win against the Rangers.

“He’s been unbelievable all playoffs,” Verhaeghe said. “I can’t say enough about him. He works so hard. To have him back there, we just have so much confidence. We’re just trying to play as hard [on defense] as we can. When we need him, he always comes up big.”

4: Tkachuk’s first-period goal served as the game-winner Wednesday. After also having three game-winning goals in last year’s Eastern Conference final sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tkachuk is the first player in NHL history with four game-winning goals through his first five career games in the round preceding the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tkachuk has a team-high 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) so far in the playoffs.

He was also going to be on the receiving end of a Verhaeghe pass late in the third that the Rangers wound up knocking into their own net and assisted on Bennett’s empty-net goal to seal scoring.

Tkachuk added three hits and a pair of blocked shots to his stat line on Wednesday for good measure.

“What he did tonight was righted our team back to the simple parts of our game,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “You always want to do more. These are the best players in the world and they’re capable of doing more, but sometimes the less is just way better and it’s also quite a bit smarter. And I thought he led in that department.

24: The Rangers’ shutout loss Wednesday was their first at Madison Square Garden in a playoff game since April 21, 2016. It ended a stretch of 24 home playoff games without a shutout.

There are now eight teams with an active streak of at least 24 consecutive home playoff games with at least goal. Those teams: The Pittsburgh Penguins (52 games, dating back to June 3, 2013), Bruins (46, dating back to April 23, 2017), Lightning (44, dating back to April 10, 2019), Colorado Avalanche (38, dating back to April 15, 2019), Panthers (35, dating back to April 25, 1997), St. Louis Blues (29, dating back to April 26, 2017), New York Islanders (25, dating back to April 28, 2019) and Vegas Golden Knights (24, dating back to May 18, 2021).

2: The shutout win was just the Panthers’ second ever on the road in the playoffs. The other came on May 2, 1996, at Philadelphia, when John Vanbiesbrouck stopped all 18 shots he faced in the 2-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. It’s just the Panthers’ fifth overall playoff shutout win.

1: The Panthers limited the Rangers to just one high-danger chance on their two power-play opportunities Wednesday. The Rangers finished the regular season with the third-best power play in the NHL, scoring on 26.4 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage. That number jumped to 31.4 percent (11 for 35) entering the Eastern Conference final.

“We were very disciplined in staying out of the box,” Tkachuk said, “and when we did take penalties, our penalty kill was so good.