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2023 Stanley Cup Final

Huge Week for Florida Panthers Gets Bigger with Stanley Cup Final

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Panthers cup
— Photos by AP, @GeorgeRichards and Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

The Florida Panthers are in the Stanley Cup Final.

Can you believe this?

Sure, you have had a few days to let it sink in as the Panthers swept the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night with another game-winning goal from Matthew Tkachukthis one with 4.9 seconds remaining.

We ask again: Can you believe this?

This run to the Cup Final has been a long time coming for the long suffering fans of a franchise which struggled for a long, long time.

That’s a lot of ‘longs’ but when a team went 26 years between playoff wins and 27 years between trips to the Stanley Cup Final, well, that’s a long time.

And here they are.

Although the Panthers do not know who they will be playing in the Cup Final — it will either be Vegas or Dallas — we do know Game 1 will be on Saturday night.

Seems like a long way away and, it kind of is.

A few more days will not kill anyone.

Buckle up. Once this thing gets started, it is going to be a wild ride.

Here are the best moments from the Florida Hockey Now team in a historic week in Florida Panthers history.

We’ll be here for the next batch of memories, believe that.

TODAY

This has been a long time coming for Paul Maurice as well, the first-year Panthers coach in the Cup Final for the first time since losing in 5 to the Detroit Red Wings in 2002.

It was not an easy regular season to fight through, but he kept the faith and kept the focus on the goal. The Panthers are on Cloud 9 because of it.

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— The Panthers bandwagon has been begging for passengers for decades and there have been few takers. They are not asking anyone to jump on now — but there are plenty hopping aboard.

SATURDAY

The NBA on TNT crew have been talking up Tkachuk and, however they pronounced it, Sergei Bobrovsky for weeks now.

On Saturday, Florida’s Chucky met basketball’s Chucky. The Florida TKing of Rebounds meets the Round Mound of Rebound.

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Sasha Barkov has been playing his whole career for this, mostly in the shadows. He is in the spotlight now.

— All the Panthers wanted to do was make the playoffs, knowing once you’re in, anything can happen. Just ask assistant coach Jamie Kompon. As Maurice said, “he has a ring coming out of the 8 hole.” The comparisons between the 2012 Los Angeles Kings and these Panthers are pretty striking.

FRIDAY

With close wins at home and on the road, these Panthers are battle tested going into the Final.

Call ‘em the Battle Cats if you want. T-shirts coming.

— The Panthers have a lot of high-profile players but it is the unsung heroes who have helped get them where they’re at.

— There is a TON of video is up on the FHN YouTube Channel including Game 4 postgame reaction from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matthew Tkachuk, Anton Lundell, Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad.

There will also be plenty of off-day video coming as we work our way through the week.

To see all the videos, you can click the embedded videos below or head directly to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.

If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.

Thanks to you all for watching and subscribing. The reaction has been fantastic.

THURSDAY

Tkachuk willed the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the four-game sweep of the Hurricanes, he scored three goals on the final shot of the night — two in overtime in Raleigh.

Eric Staal could have asked for a trade at the deadline, tried chasing this Cup with someone else. But he believed in the Panthers and wanted to chase it with them — even when things weren’t going so well.

— We know we asked this before, but can you believe the Panthers are playing in the Stanley Cup Final?

WEDNESDAY

Oh, Doctor.

It looked like the Panthers were headed to overtime tied at 3 against the Hurricanes in Game 4.

Then Tkachuk struck once again and the Panthers were moving on.

— The Panthers ain’t afraid of no ghosts, and they are not afraid of any superstitions when it came to the Prince of Wales Trophy. They grabbed that shiny thing and took it dancing.

Bill Zito was named a finalist for the Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award and, with the way this thing is going, that’s probably good enough for him.

— Barkov was back in the lineup for Game 4. Apparently the Boca bar mitzvah finally wrapped up. Heck of a band.

— Throughout a tough season, the Panthers remained close. You can see that paying off now.

— Bobrovsky is killing it, but he is getting some help from his defense. He is appreciative of the effort.

TUESDAY

Down 3-0, the Carolina Hurricanes faced some long odds to come back and beat the Panthers.

Did you know no NBA team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit?

Bet you do now.

What can you say about Bob? Another terrific performance from the Florida goalie in Game 3 as he gets his first career postseason shutout and did everything but score.

— With Barkov out after a hit in the first period of Game 3, a lot of folks had to step up to fill the void.

MONDAY

The Panthers came home from a very successful Raleigh sojourn and take a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 1-0 win.

Bobrovsky sparkled and held on after Sam Reinhart scored on the power play in the second period.

— The Panthers played much of the game without their captain who left after being put up against the wall. Or, he had a previous engagement. Regardless, not serious.

Shayne Gostisbehere was the first true South Floridian to play in the NHL and he was also the first to play his hometown team in the playoffs. Good stuff from the Ghost right here.

— It took some doing, but the Panthers finally figured out the Carolina penalty kill.

— After winning two in North Carolina, the Panthers were happy to be home.

LAST SUNDAY

After going four overtimes in Game 1, the Panthers were thrilled to finish off the Hurricanes early in the first OT in Game 2 as Tkachuk does it to the Hurricanes again.

Bus in 10.

— The Panthers knew they were getting a special player in Tkachuk when they made the blockbuster deal with the Flames. Did they know they were getting this?

That goal from Barkov in Game 2? It was the talk of the NHL. And we had seen it before.

 

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

THE 2023 STANLEY CUP FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
OR DALLAS STARS
GAME 1
  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas OR AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas
  • TV: TNT
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 95.6 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Series Schedule — Game 1: Saturday at Dallas/Vegas, 8 (TNT); Game 2: Monday June 5 at DAL/VGK, 8 (TNT); Game 3: Thursday June 8 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 4: Saturday June 10 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Tuesday June 13 at DAL/VGK, 8 (TNT); Game 6*: Friday June 16 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Monday June 19 at DAL/VGK, 8 (TNT). * – If Necessary
  • 2022-23 Regular Season Series Vs. Vegas (Even 1-1): @Vegas 4, Florida 2 (Jan. 12); @Florida 2, Vegas 1 (March 7)
  • All-time Regular Season Series: vs. Vegas Golden Knights lead 6-3-1
  • 2022-23 Regular Season Series vs. Dallas (Stars Won 2-0):Dallas 6, @Florida 4 (Nov. 17); @Dallas 5, Florida 1 (Jan. 8)
  • All-time Regular Season Series: vs. Dallas Florida leads 24-21-2, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: First meeting vs. both Vegas or Dallas

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