Matthew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup for the first time. Veteran forward Carter Verhaeghe scored the opening goal in the first period. And star Sam Reinhart put away the game-winning goal in the second period. Though Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid won the Conn Smythe, he watched as Florida celebrated their first Cup.

Panthers players rushed the ice after the clock reached triple zeros. After the celebrations died down, and the traditional handshake line was completed, Tkachuk spoke with ESPN. His immediate reaction to winning the Stanley Cup was nothing short of emotional.

Matthew Tkachuk did not score a point in the deciding Game 7. And overall, his impact in the Stanley Cup Final was rather limited. Still, the Panthers star was a driving force for Florida in the playoffs. He finished the postseason tied for the lead among skaters with 22 playoff points.

Panthers defeat Oilers in Game 7

Florida Panthers celebrate winning against the Edmonton Oilers in game seven of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers and Panthers went at it from the moment the puck dropped on Monday night. Both teams had their fair share of chances early in the game. That said, it was Florida who struck first. Evan Rodrigues threw a shot on goal, which was tipped past Stuart Skinner by Verhaeghe. The hosting Panthers took a 1-0 lead.

However, this lead did not last too long. Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci threw a beautiful outlet pass through the neutral zone. Forward Mattias Janmark collected it and skated in all along. He was able to lift the puck over Sergei Bobrovsky and into the back of the net. Through the first period, the Oilers and Panthers were tied 1-1.

In the second period, Edmonton had control of the game. They back Florida in their zone many times, and looked on the verge of breaking through. However, a brilliant defensive play from Dmitry Kulikov prevented the Oilers from capitalizing on a prime scoring chance. The puck went the other way and Reinhart capitalized. His goal made it 2-1 Panthers.

The Oilers continued to pressure Florida into the third period. At times, it seemed as if Edmonton had broken through the opposing defense. But they continued to be stifled every step of the way. McDavid had possibly the best chance in the third period when he dangled the puck in front of an out of position Bobrovksy. However, defenseman Gustav Forsling made an excellent defensive play to disrupt his stick.

In the end, Edmonton could not find that equalizing goal. The Panthers had a few chances at the empty net, but missed. It did not matter as the clock soon expired. The Panthers celebrated their first Stanley Cup victory in Game 7 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.