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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ties That Bind: Panthers, Rangers Put Relationships Aside

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The Florida Panthers and New York Rangers have plenty of ties going into the Eastern Conference final, from Vincent Trocheck to Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola. // AP photos

FORT LAUDERDALE — The world of professional hockey is a small one. Nothing more exemplifies that than the upcoming playoff series between the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers.

The two teams will meet in the postseason for the first time since 1997 when the Eastern Conference final kicks off Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

However, as is the case with so many other playoff matchups, there are many ties between them.

Both teams have players who were teammates and friends on the other side of the ice, whether it is former Florida fan favorite Vincent Trocheck or 2023 New York trade acquisitions Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola.

“Whenever we play each other, we cross paths and maybe say hi,’’ Sasha Barkov said of Trocheck on Tuesday night from New York.

“Obviously not this time, maybe after.

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