The Florida Panthers apparently have a stripper mystery on their hands.
According to a number of Florida radio personalities, some players were reportedly seen partying at a strip club as late as 3 a.m. on Monday morning, after their Game 3 loss to the Lightning that put the Panthers in a 3-0 series hole.
Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette shut down the rumors that had his players partying into the wee hours before their elimination game on Monday night — which saw the Lightning beat Tampa Bay 2-0 to complete a series sweep in the second-round of the 2022 NHL playoffs.
“Those things, I guess, happen in our universe,” Brunette said Monday. “Check your sources. That was not the case (Monday) night.”
Panthers players have yet to address the report publicly, as of Tuesday.
However, Miami-based reporter Andy Slater confirmed the radio show reports.
“Brunette wants sources checked. No problem. I just checked with my strip club sources, who are the best in the industry. The report by The Pat and Aaron Show is true,” Slater tweeted.
The top-seeded Panthers are now the first Presidents’ Trophy winners to be swept from a playoff series since the 2019 Lightning were ousted by Columbus in the first round.
“Special teams for me was an issue,” said Brunette, whose team ousted the Capitals in six games in the first round. “I take a lot of blame for the power play, that was my fault. Should be better, has to be better. Really disappointed in myself for that.”
Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said the second-round outcome is “a tough pill to swallow. Getting swept is tough. It hurts. It stings,” he continued. “There’s no doubt about it.”
The Lightning now continue their quest for a three-peat in the Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of the Hurricanes-Rangers series. Carolina is ahead 2-1, with Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.