The Florida Panthers hope to make the Stanley Cup finals for just the second time in their franchise’s history.
The Florida Panthers are one of twelve NHL teams that have never won the Stanley Cup.
The Panthers have been around since 1993. Over the span of 30 years, the franchise has struggled to find success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They reached the finals once in 1996 and then didn’t win another playoff series until 2022. The Panthers missed the playoffs for a long stretch of time from 2001 to 2011.
After failing to qualify for the playoffs from 2017 to 2019, the Panthers have made consecutive appearances in the playoffs since 2020. They won their first round series against the Washington Capitals in 2022. As the eighth seed, the Panthers have turned a lot of heads with their 2023 playoff run.
Florida Panthers plow a path to the finals
Playoffs are unpredictable and all about getting hot at the right moment. As a wild card team, the Panthers took down the mighty 65-win Boston Bruins in a remarkable first round matchup. They were down 3-1 in the series and won three straight games to eliminate the Presidents’ Trophy winners.
In the Conference Semifinals, the Panthers clawed their way past the Toronto Maple Leafs. Standouts for Florida during the playoffs are winger Matthew Tkachuk, captain Aleksander Barkov, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Panthers are up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. The first two games of the series went into overtime. Tkachuk scored the game winner for the Panthers both times, the first one in quadruple overtime and the second one two minutes into OT. In Game 3, the Panthers shut out the Canes 1-0. The Canes have played hard, but the Panthers have just looked like the better team.
There’s a lot more hockey left to play, but the Panthers have passed all the tests so far in the playoffs. They’re inching closer to the final series that has evaded them since 1996.
If the Panthers eliminate the Canes, they will face either the Vegas Golden Knights or the Dallas Stars. The Golden Knights are currently up 2-0 in their series with the Stars. Like the Panthers, the Knights have not won a Stanley Cup before, but their team was only founded in 2017. The Canes and the Stars have each won the Cup once.
The Florida Panthers have never won the Stanley Cup. Could this be the year?