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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Florida Panthers Ignore Prince Of Wales This Time Around

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Kyle Okposo admires the Prince of Wales Trophy which was presented by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly as Sasha Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Matthew Tkachuk keep their distance on Saturday night.

SUNRISE — Paul Maurice made sure his Florida Panthers knew not to go near the Prince of Wales Trophy on Saturday night.

Although captain Sasha Barkov said his coach made the same request last year, it certainly was not followed.

Maurice, as captured by the ESPN cameras, made it clear — in no uncertain terms — that they were not to put their mitts on the silver trophy this time around after his Panthers beat the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final.

That win put the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year.

There is a superstition in the NHL that you do not touch either the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence Campbell Trophy because, what you really want to throw your hands on, is the Stanley Cup.

Last year, regardless of what Maurice said, Florida all but made out with the thing.

“I think that we’re the type of team that the last thing we’re going to be is superstitious,” Matthew Tkachuk said last year.

“Not touching it or anything? Most people said we weren’t even going to make the playoffs, so I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool to pick it up, carry it around, take pictures with it.

”We earned that. We definitely did not do it the easy way. We earned it. If you are blocking shots, taking hits and doing whatever it takes to win a trophy like that, you may as well enjoy it.”

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Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk takes the Prince of Wales Trophy on a tour of FLA Live Arena after he scored in the final seconds of Game 4 to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2023 Eastern Conference final. // Photo @GeorgeRichards 

Barkov all but said Maurice requested last year that they not go near it.

“He also told me last year,’’ Barkov said Saturday night. “We had a different situation but we’re not going to talk about last year. This year, we all agreed we were not going to touch it.”

That ‘different situation’ was Florida sliding into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season after the Pittsburgh Penguins somehow lost at home to the Chicago Blackhawks allowing the Panthers to be the Cinderella of the NHL ball.

This time around, the Panthers are taking no chances.

“I think Sasha has a pretty good sense of humor,’’ Maurice said. “I don’t remember. All I know is there a picture here of him carrying it down the hallway so, at that point, I had to say ‘I told him to.’ It has nothing to do with anything, but we play our silly games.”

Yes, superstitions may be silly — and Tkachuk, Roberto Luongo, Barkov and more parading the Prince of Wales Trophy throughout the Sunrise arena after the ECF sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes had nothing to do with them losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

But these Panthers are taking no chances.

“We touched it last year, and it didn’t work out for us,’’ Sam Bennett said.

“So we tried something different.”

The Panthers will open the 2024 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night — either in Sunrise against the Edmonton Oilers or in Dallas against the Stars.

The Oilers hold a 3-2 series on Dallas with Game 6 of the Western Conference final tonight in Edmonton.

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS (EC) V. DALLAS STARS or EDMONTON OILERS
GAME 1
  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise (Edmonton) OR AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas
  • National TV: ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC
  • IF EDMONTON — Game 1: Edmonton at Florida, Saturday; Game 2: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 10; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday June 13; Game 4: Florida at Edmonton, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday June 18; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday June 21; Game 7*: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • IF DALLAS — Game 1: Florida at Dallas, Saturday; Game 2:Florida at Dallas, Monday June 10; Game 3: Dallas at Florida, Thursday June 13; Game 4: Dallas at Florida, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Florida at Dallas, Tuesday June 18; Game 6*: Dallas at Florida, Friday June 21; Game 7*: Florida at Dallas, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • How Florida Got Here: Florida d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2.
  • + VS. EDMONTON
  • This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17).
  • Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: None
  • + VS. DALLAS
  • This Season (Panthers Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Stars 4 (Dec. 6). At Dallas: Panthers 4, Stars 3 (March 12).
  • Last Season: Dallas won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 26-21-2, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: None

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