Are you nervous now?

Maybe a little?

It’s still something that’s been missing all these empty years, this nervous jerk in hockey in the playoffs, this anxious anxiety that raises the Florida Panthers ’stakes, and your nested symptoms even after one game.

“I like to think we will learn a valuable lesson from this,” said Panthers defender Aaron Ekblad after a 4-2 defeat in Game 1 against Washington on Monday night.

Here’s a lesson: in hockey playoffs everything is different. More physically. Fewer points. Eliminate the sweetheart from your game and make everything straight and simple in your game, as interim coach Andrew Burnett says.

“We kind of destroyed ourselves,” Burnett said of the third period of the Panthers.

No franchise has more of these playoffs at stake than the Panthers. It’s not just how they looked in the regular season, scored at will, entertained a few evenings like Harlem Globetrotters, and showed the best season not only in the league but also in their sad history.

This is also what these playoffs can do for this sagging franchise. This could make them relevant in South Florida. This can give them a stepping stone that they really need.

This is something that is actually at stake more than winning the series. So here it is: if they can’t build this wonderful regular season, if they don’t even win the series for the 26th year in a row, you could also block the arena because it’s on the cursed land of the Everglades.

You see, this series is not just about the winning team and the losing team. It’s about a franchise that breathed life into it. The Washington players have lamented before the playoffs that they have not won the post-season series since 2018, when they won the Stanley Cup.

Three barren years? It’s nothing. The Panthers have not won the playoffs in 26 years. They allowed everyone to ignore them. Former coach Doug Malin recounts how he asked the restaurant to translate the Panthers game on television to Delray Beach, and he was told that the Carolina Panthers of the NFL were not playing that night.

So this is their chance. The Panthers are now a great team – a great regular season team anyway. They scored more goals than any team since the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.

Do you know that year? It was then that the Panthers last won a playoff series. Makin was the coach. They did the magic of reaching the Stanley Cup final, which is still talked about by Panther fans. Again, what else can they talk about?

This team can change all that. On Monday night, he received a crowd unlike any in those years. In the third period, they led 2-1 – and they not only equaled the best home record this year, but also had a score of 39-0-1, when they entered the third period with an advantage.

These figures melted in one turn Mackenzie Weegar.

Alex Ovechkin of “Washington” knocked the puck out of the “Panther” defender into his blue line. His teammate Yauhen Kuzniatsou replaced him with a break and beat Panther goalkeeper Syarhei Babrouski.

Less than the first of three minutes later, T.J. Oshi of Washington bowed and brought forward. The empty gate killed him.

“I think we had to realize it was going to be hard,” Burnett said. “We haven’t had a lot of tough games. We handled it not as well as we would have liked. We were not as sharp as we would have liked. We lost a little energy.

“It opens my eyes well. I could talk until it turned blue, but until they go through it and remind themselves how hard it was last year (in the playoffs play from Tampa Bay), how hard it is to play and that every puck and every game means something – it was a good reminder. “

The reminder was given dearly.

“We are still in a good mood,” said central Sam Bennett, who scored the Panthers’ first goal. “We still know how good a team we are. There is no panic in the locker room. Everyone is still positive. We will learn from this game and move on. It’s a long series. “

The first defeat only adds to the aftermath of Game 2 on Thursday. Washington also has obsolete parts of the once champion. Hockey playoffs have come.

Still nervous?

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