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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Florida Panthers ‘Not Done’ With Huge Game 6 On Tap in Sunrise

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Florida Panthers captain Sasha Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk hold up the Prince of Wales trophy after the Panthers won Game 4 of 2023 ECF in Sunrise on May 24. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Florida Panthers have not won anything, yet.

Yes, the Prince of Wales Trophy will be in the house tonight when the Panthers play host to the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final.

Getting to that shiny silver trophy is going to take some doing.

The Panthers know this quite well.

“We’re not done,’’ Gus Forsling said Friday before the Panthers left New York to come home. “We’re taking it one game at a time and are focused on winning the next game. That’s it.’’

Yes, the Panthers know all too well that a win tonight will take them to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year.

The Panthers have talked about what last year’s playoff run taught them, and one of the lessons learned was that it sucks to get so close to your goal and come up short.

Last year, it was the Vegas Golden Knights who kept the Panthers from achieving their goal.

Tonight, it will be the desperate Rangers trying to keep Florida from celebrating in Sunrise and instead force a return to Madison Square Garden for a Game 7 on Monday night.

“We’ve got to win a hockey game,” coach Peter Laviolette said per NHL.com. “There should be a lot of confidence in our team. We won 55 games in the regular season, won 10 games in the playoffs. Our group knows how to win hockey games. We’ve got to wake up tomorrow and win a hockey game. …

“Urgency is high and we’ve got to be ready. We’ve got to fight for something here. Nobody goes through this and gets to the end without having to fight for it. Tomorrow we’ve got to dig in.”

Last year, the Panthers won the Eastern Conference championship at home in Game 4 against the Caroling Hurricanes and it took a goal from Matthew Tkachuk in the waning seconds of the third to finish that one off.

Tonight should be another close one.

All five of the games in the series have been 1-goal games in the third period — including the 3-0 Florida win in Game 1 — and the three leading into Thursday went to overtime.

Nothing is going to come easy for either team.

They would not have it any other way.

“Just take it one game at a time. I know that’s easy to say, but that’s what we have to do,’’ Forsling said. “Not get ahead of ourselves, that’s still a great team over there that can still turn this thing around. We want to shut them down right away.’’

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

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. NEW YORK RANGERS (MET1)
Panthers Lead Best-of-7 Series 3-2
GAME 6

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