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CLINCHED: Florida Panthers Headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs



Florida panthers playoffs
The Florida Panthers celebrate with Matthew Tkachuk after he scored against the New Jersey Devils on March 18 in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Florida Panthers have one game remaining but they are now just playing for seeding as they officially clinched a spot in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night.

By virtue of both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres losing on Tuesday, the Panthers will be headed to the playoffs for a third consecutive season for the first time in franchise history.

Florida (92 points) continue to hold a one-point lead on the New York Islanders (91) for the top wild card spot with the Penguins (90) two points back with one game remaining for all three.

Because the Panthers own the top tiebreaker against the Penguins, Pittsburgh cannot catch them.

The Penguins or the Islanders will get the other wild card spot.

Buffalo was eliminated from postseason consideration with its loss to the Devils on Tuesday.

The Panthers will play host to Carolina on Thursday night and can claim the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and a first-round date with either those same Hurricanes or New Jersey in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a win or an Islanders regulation loss Wednesday.

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By beating Detroit on Tuesday night, Carolina kept its one-point lead on the Devils in the race for the Metropolitan Division.

Florida panthers playoffs

On Monday night, the Panthers earned a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting Maple Leafs.

Florida got help that night as the Islanders lost 5-2 to the underdog Capitals and got even more help Tuesday as Pittsburgh was beaten at home by the tanking Chicago Blackhawks by the same brutal score.

Chicago was not only playing in its second consecutive game after losing at home to the Wild on Monday night, but came into the game with losses in 11 of its past 12.

Coming into the final two games, the Penguins and Islanders had the easiest two remaining schedules in the entire league yet both lost the first of their final two games.

The Islanders will play host to the Canadiens on Wednesday night; Pittsburgh will visit Columbus on Thursday.

The Panthers will be participating in postseason hockey for the fourth consecutive season — although they did not advance out of the 2020 qualifying round in Toronto.

Florida lost in the opening round to Tampa Bay in 2021.

Last year, the Panthers won their first playoff series since 1996 by beating the Capitals in 6. Florida was then swept out of the second round by the Lightning.

Florida has only advanced to the playoffs in consecutive years twice in its history: 1996-97 and 2021-22. The team has never been to the playoffs in three straight seasons before now.



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 3-0
  • This season (Series tied 1-1): Florida 3, Carolina 2 (Nov. 9); Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30)
  • All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 70-46-10, 11 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers — First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs, Game 1 (Time, Opponent TBD)

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Yea baby!!! The pens came out hot, but once they burned off that one initial burst of energy without a goal, they started to really play tight, and that got even worse once the Hawks got the first goal. We owe Chicago. Best player on the ice was their netminder, hands down. What a year , huh guys. As the great ric flare would say…….whooooo!!

victor bagnato

CELEBRATE CELEBRATE!! Cant believe it Jay.We must get one point to avoid Boston if Isles win.I feel we could give either Jersey or Carolina a fight!From depression to elation–still cant believe it.Thx to Lyons,Tkachuk,Montodor.especially but congrats to everyone.

victor bagnato

I meant to say Montour.Im so pumped I cant think straight


credit where credit is due, hats off to Paul Maurice and the coaching staff for staying the course, not panicking when things got bad, and it would have been easy for them to do so, they deserve a lot of credit.
I completely agree about Carolina and New Jersey, with my preference being New Jersey I think we can run them, they are not a playoff style team, (sound familiar) Carolina will be a little tougher but I still think we win that one as well, most likely in six games.
I’m so Damm excited!!! Go cats!!!!!

Cats and Leafs

I think if the Isles win in regulation and we get one point, Islanders get the first wildcard ( second tie breaker). If the Islanders win in OT or shootout and we get one point, then we claim the first wildcard via the regulation win first tiebreaker.

victor bagnato

How do they arrive at ROW Is it RW plus OW?

Cats and Leafs

I would have bet the farm that Pittsburgh would have won their last 2 games. Cannot believe they lost. Very happy for the Cats and our fans. Still on shock.


Yeah hearing Brian bouchard talking last night during our broadcast was hilarious he made a comment that Chicago and Columbus didn’t even want to win the last two games (for the whole conner bedard draft pick thing) I’m so surprised he made that comment because he’s a previous player and I can guarantee you where he might be correct, in the GM, the front office folks and probably even ownership may hope to lose those last two games for a better chance at the number one overall pick, but I can guarantee you there’s not a player in that locker… Read more »

Cory Brolund

That’s the thing they forget, all 23 players with CHI, CBJ will not return so why are they gonna lose. They play for their next contract not so the team picks a higher pick.

So happy and proud of our team, they stuck to the plan, didn’t waiver in their belief in themselves and guess what? Sat 16 teams are all on same page


Absolutely, you put it best, they do play for their next contract, not for the right to draft somebody.

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