LAS VEGAS — After a layoff of nearly two weeks, the Florida Panthers are set to open up the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at 8 p.m.
The Panthers say they are not concerned about the rust.
“In the first five minutes, we just have to keep it simple,” Anton Lundell said.
“We’re trying to get a feel for the game again, but overall, we’re well-rested and ready to go.”
All of that time off has left time for emotions to fester about the gravity of playing in the Stanley Cup Final.
But that has not seemed to get to the Panthers.
Matthew Tkachuk has talked to his dad, five-time NHL All-Star Keith Tkachuk, and other former players who have played in that moment to get the key to how to thrive in it.
The Panthers just need to do the same thing they have done all postseason long.
”The common thing that him and some other former players that have played in these moments have passed along is that winning the series is a special memory for a lifetime,’’ Tkachuk said.
“But again, it’s still a playoff series. You just have to treat it the same way. The people who try to oversimplify it or, to the other extreme, try to be a hero, those guys and teams tend to get in trouble.
“So for us, we have to go out there and play how we have all playoffs and we know we have a chance to be successful.”
Eetu Luostarinen will be a game-time decision, per coach Paul Maurice.
Luostarinen left Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final with seven minutes to go in the second period after blocking a shot with his leg.
Maurice said that he is “optmistic” that Luostarinen will be able to play in Game 1.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
THE 2023 STANLEY CUP FINAL
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
- When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
- Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, WPOW 96.5 FM2, WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Golden Knights Favored: Money Line (-130); Puck line (-1.5, +195); Over/Under 5.5 (-120/+100). Series: Vegas favored -125.
- Series Schedule — Game 1: Saturday at Vegas, 8 (TNT); Game 2: Monday at Vegas, 8 (TNT); Game 3: Thursday at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 4: Saturday June 10 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 5*: Tuesday June 13 at Vegas, 8 (TNT); Game 6*: Friday June 16 at Florida, 8 (TNT); Game 7*: Monday June 19 at Vegas, 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
- Postseason History: First meeting
- How They Got Here — Vegas: d. Winnipeg in 5, Edmonton in 6, Dallas in 6; Florida: d. Boston in 7, Toronto in 5, Carolina in 4.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
21 Nick Cousins // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
34 Alex Lyon
Scratched: Mike Benning, Zac Dalpe, Evan Fitzpatrick, Givani Smith, Casey Fitzgerald, Lucas Carlsson, Connor Bunnaman, Grigori Denisenko, Patrick Giles, Mack Guzda, Aleksi Heponiemi, Matt Kiersted, Santtu Kinnunen, John Ludvig, Mackie Samsoskevich, Calle Sjalin
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion)
PROJECTED VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINEUP
49 Ivan Barbashev // 9 Jack Eichel // 81 Jonathan Marchessault
21 Brett Howden // 20 Chandler Stephenson // 61 Mark Stone
19 Reilly Smith // 71 William Karlsson // 22 Mike Amadio
28 Will Carrier // 10 Nicolas Roy // 55 Keegan Kolesar
23 Alec Martinez // 7 Alex Pietrangelo
3 Brayden McNabb // 27 Shea Theodore
14 Nicolas Hague // 2 Zach Whitecloud
33 Adin Hill
32 Jonathan Quick