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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Shove It, 1994: The Florida Panthers are the Team of Destiny



Florida panthers
The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers go through the handshake line following Saturday’s finale of the Eastern Conference final in Sunrise. Florida won 2-1 and head to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight year. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE — Once the Stanley Cup playoffs began, it was certainly difficult to ignore hearing about the New York Rangers trying to mirror their magical 1994 run to the Stanley Cup.

Ah, they won the NHL Presidents’ Trophy?

Just like 1994, am I right?

Oh they lost a Game 5?

Must be 1994 again.

Well, about that…

Nobody in the Rangers locker room made a guarantee they would beat the Florida Panthers in Game 6 like Mark Messier did 30 years ago.

And why would they?

Mike Keenan was nowhere to be found.

The Panthers have not lost an ounce of steam since starting their own redemption tour from the moment the puck dropped to start the postseason.

And, like they have done all series, the Panthers outclassed the Rangers and secured a second-straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

This time, Florida looks to fulfill its destiny.

Anyone who has been paying close enough attention to this team knew what this team was capable of.

Last year, it was a naive bunch who were just happy to be there after making rolling through the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Yet from Day 1 of the regular season this year, the Panthers were the hungry team, playing the exact same style they mastered on their way to last year’s playoffs.

Their physicality turned them into one of the villains of the league, and they fully embraced it.

Just ask Nick Cousins.

Florida faced off with its nemesis, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the cross-state rival which knocked the Panthers out of the playoffs in 2021 and 2022.

The Panthers finally slayed their dragon.

The Boston Bruins sought revenge for the historic upset the Panthers completed against them last season and fell flat in six games.

And, for a second-straight year, the Panthers took out the Presidents’ Trophy-winning team en route to the Stanley Cup Final.

These playoffs may not mirror 1994 like it New York had hoped, but this has been one hell of a road so far for Florida.

These ‘Puddy Tats’ have some claws to them.

Hey, perhaps this 30th anniversary season will end up being special after all.

Just in South Florida.

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

  • 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.
  • 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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