May 2, 2023 - Sports

After beating top seeds, Heat and Panthers continue epic playoff runs

A side-by-side collage shows Florida Panthers LW Matthew Tkachuk shooting a wide-open goal and Heat guard Kyle Lowry shooting a floater, both in their first-round playoff matchups

Panthers left wing Matthew Tkachuk (right) scores an overtime goal in Game 5. Heat guard Kyle Lowry hits a floater in Game 1. Photos: (left) Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images, (right) Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images.

The Heat and Panthers just gave Miami one of the best sports weekends we've ever seen.

Why it matters: The Heat and the Panthers barely made the playoffs as No. 8 seeds and were going up against the No. 1 seeds in their first-round matchups.

  • The Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Bruins both had the best records in their leagues, and Boston won the most regular-season games in NHL history.

The intrigue: Fans have a scheduling conflict Tuesday night as both teams play around the same time — an annoying déjà vu from last year.

  • Game 1 of the Panthers' second-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs is at 7pm on ESPN.
  • Miami's Game 2 is at 7:30pm on TNT.

Pro tip: If your TV allows it, record one of the games and watch it later. Just try and stay off the internet for spoilers.

  • You could also try to watch both at the same time using a split-screen view, live-streaming one on your phone or heading to a sports bar.

Yes, but: Unlike last year, when both teams played on the same night for every game of Round 2, the Panthers' next game is Thursday, while Game 3 for Miami is Saturday.

  • The NHL hasn't released the schedule for the rest of the Panthers' series yet, so let's hope the league gives Miami fans a break this year.

What we're watching: Will superstar guard Jimmy Butler be 100% for the Heat after rolling his ankle in Game 1, and will New York get Julius Randle back from his own ankle injury?

  • The Knicks dominated the Heat in the paint in Game 1 but also shot an awful 21% from three-point range. In order to make the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami will need to keep its defensive focus and continue to rely on players other than Butler to carry the offense.
  • For the Panthers, they are once again being underestimated: Leafs fans chanted "we want Florida" after defeating Tampa Bay in the first round.
  • Toronto beat Florida in three out of four games during the regular season.
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