On Saturday, June 3, just two days after the NBA Finals Game 1 tips off, the Stanley Cup Finals will go underway in an epic clash between David, the Florida Panthers, and Goliath, the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The state of Florida should be in full jubilation as two of their professional sports teams have overcome incredible odds to make it all the way to their respective Finals.
The Miami Heat went from the eighth seed, battling their way through the Play-In Tournament before pulling off upset after upset to get a shot at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Florida Panthers have done the same, going from just the fourth seed in the Atlantic Division and the eighth seed in the Eastern bracket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Between the Panthers and the Golden Knights, their paths to the Finals couldn’t be any different. The Panthers faced their greatest challenge in the opening round, starting off as massive underdogs against the Boston Bruins. After a brutal seven-game series, Florida emerged victorious, albeit beaten and battered. The Knights, on the other hand, took care of business against the Winnipeg Jets in five relatively short games.
The second round was a different story. The Edmonton Oilers were able to take two games from Las Vegas, before ultimately getting a 5-2 beatdown from the Knights in Game 6. The Panthers, however, carried all of their momentum from their monumental win over the Bruins into round two, dispatching the Toronto Maple Leafs in just five games.
This trend continued into the Conference Finals. Florida initially ran into trouble against the Carolina Hurricanes to open their series, as Game 1 went into quadruple overtime before the Panthers were able to steal the victory in an absolute thriller.
With that win in their belt, the team’s confidence only grew, as they went on to sweep Carolina, outscoring them 7-4 the rest of the way. The Golden Knights didn’t experience the same ease against the Dallas Stars, as their series went six games with three of them requiring overtime.
Las Vegas was able to build some momentum heading into the Finals, however, as they put on a 6-0 drubbing against Dallas to seal the series.
Despite the Golden Knights looking like the better team throughout the regular season, it appears that the Florida Panthers will enter the Finals more rested and more confident. Could the Panthers pull off one of the greatest postseason runs in NHL history by upsetting Las Vegas to secure the Stanley Cup?
Stanley Cup Final watch parties at @FLALiveArena up next! Let's rock the house 😼
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) June 1, 2023
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| Title: The paths to the Stanley Cup couldn’t have been more different for the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers
| Author: Andy Quach
| Date: June 02, 2023