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Tkachuk: 'We all knew it was probably going to be Boston'


The Florida Panthers will host the Boston Bruins in Game 1 on Monday after waiting five days to learn who their second-round series opponent would be.

The Bruins blew a 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but earned a 2-1 overtime win on Saturday to advance. The outcome apparently came as no surprise to Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk

"Without this coming out too badly, I think we all knew it was probably going to be Boston the way that series was going," Tkachuk said Sunday. "I think throughout the whole series we were probably expecting they were going to come out and win it one way or another."

The Panthers beat both the Bruins and the Maple Leafs in the postseason last year as part of their march to the Stanley Cup Final. Florida rallied from 3-1 down to beat the Bruins in overtime of Game 7 and then dispatched the Maple Leafs in five games in the second round.

Tkachuk's comments will serve as insult to injury for Toronto after suffering their seventh opening-round exit in the postseason in the past eight years. The Maple Leafs lone series win came last spring with a six-game series win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, who the Panthers eliminated in five games this year.

Tkachuk, 26, is off to a strong start in these playoffs with three goals and nine points in five games. He had 11 goals and 24 points in 20 playoff games last year.