No one in the NHL is having a postseason quite like the Florida Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk.
After being traded to the Panthers prior to the 2022-23 season, the wing has been an integral part of Florida’s Stanley Cup run. He’s second in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 21 points behind the Stars’ Roope Hintz, and he had three game-winning goals in the Panthers’ four-game sweep of the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tkachuk scored overtime winners in Games 1 and 2, then he had an unbelievable goal with under five seconds left in regulation in Game 4 that was effectively a walk-off in a 4-3 win.
Accompanying that utterly ridiculous clutch streak is a new celebration that is beautiful in its simplicity: A quick point to the exit to say, in the immortal words of Ferris Buehler, “it’s over. Go home.”
MATTHEW TKACHUK, ARE YOU KIDDING?! 😱😱😱
— NHL (@NHL) May 25, 2023
Why does Matthew Tkachuk point to the exits?
Why else would Tkachuk point to the exits? It’s game over, and he wants everyone to know it.
Tkachuk explained the celebration to reporters after his Game 2 overtime winner against the Hurricanes.
“Just the old bustin’ 10 celebration, let’s get outta here,” he said, per Sportsnet. “It’s been a lot of hockey the last two games, three or four days, so I dunno. It’s great to celebrate with the guys in the locker room and it’s great to end it early.”
When asked if it’s something he’s done, Tkachuk brushed it off. “No, no I haven’t trademarked anything. Just kinda came to me last game and we’re alright there so. Like I said it’s a lot of hockey let’s get off this ice. Take off the skates.”
In other words, it’s not just about the fans. Tkachuk wants to get out of there himself.
“Inside the NBA’s” Charles Barkley had a lot of praise to give Tkachuk as well, along with “Serjay Bobovka” (Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky).
Charles Barkley: huge Matthew Tkachuk fan. 😼 pic.twitter.com/CWI4WbH0Ls
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 26, 2023
“Matthew Tkachuk, we are not worthy…” Barkley said. “…Mr. Tkachuk, I’m gonna pass the torch.”
Matthew Tkachuk playoff stats
Tkachuk has been nothing short of spectacular in the 2023 playoffs.
In 16 games he’s tied for third in goals at nine, second in points at 21, and sixth in plus-minus (10).
In addition to that, his four game-winning goals in the 2023 NHL playoffs are good for a tie for 13th in NHL history (Brad Richards has the most ever with seven in the 2004 playoffs).
Matthew Tkachuk trade
Tkachuk was traded from the Flames to the Panthers before the season after six years in Calgary in a move that was essentially a formality.
After speculation Tkachuk was going to leave in free agency, Calgary was told by Tkachuk he wasn’t going to sign a long-term contract.
Two days after, he was traded to the Panthers alongside a 2025 conditional fourth for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt, and a protected first in 2025.
As part of the deal, Tkachuk signed an eight-year, $76 million contract with Florida.
It’s fair to say that the steep price has been well worth it. He led the team in points and plus-minus this season, and he’s continued his impressive performance in the playoffs. Does he have a bigger celebration in store for the Stanley Cup Finals? All things considered, probably not. Tkachuk seems like someone who just wants to get home.