And then there were four. The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are officially at the Conference Final stage and over in the East, one of the best teams all season is still alive as the Carolina Hurricanes clash with the Florida Panthers, who will be looking to continue their Cinderella run in the postseason. The start of the series is TBD, but it should be a very entertaining matchup.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Florida Panthers Eastern Conference Finals Series Preview
- The Hurricanes and Panthers meet in the East Finals
- Carolina is a clear favorite to advance
- Find the series preview and analysis below
These two teams met three times in the regular season, with Carolina winning twice. They outscored Florida 10-4 in those two games. The Panthers did blank the Canes 3-0 in the other matchup, though.
Hurricanes on Fire
Carolina was dealt a brutal blow before the playoffs when Andrei Svechnikov suffered a season-ending knee injury. A lot of fans and pundits believe that would hurt the Canes in their pursuit of a Cup, but it hasn’t. Carolina ran through the Islanders in the first round before taking care of the New Jersey Devils in the conference semis.
The Hurricanes were electrifying offensively in the Devils series, scoring more than four goals per contest. Aside from one game where they allowed eight goals, Carolina was also stout defensively. This attack is very well-rounded, with Sebastian Aho, Jordan Martinook, Brent Burns, and Max Necas all doing their part.
Rod Brind’Amour’s group is a -132 favorite at Bodog for good reason. They’re solid on both ends of the ice and just dominated New Jersey in more ways than one. You simply cannot underestimate the Canes, who look more than capable of not only winning the East but also capturing a Stanley Cup title.
Cinderella Run For Florida
It’s safe to say nobody could’ve predicted that Florida would be at this stage. Tasked with the President’s Trophy-winning Boston Bruins in the first round, the Panthers truly shocked the world and eliminated them in seven games. That undoubtedly gave Florida boatloads of confidence and they’ve continued to ride the high.
While the Maple Leafs were licking their chops for the Panthers matchup, they quickly changed their tune. Florida throttled Toronto, beating them in five games. There have been numerous catalysts for this team in the playoffs, but Matthew Tkachuk is the star of the show.
The former Calgary Flames standout has 16 points in the postseason, while Carter Verhaeghe isn’t far behind him with 12. There isn’t any shortage of help from the supporting cast either, with the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Brandon Montour, and others doing their part in front of goal.
Despite being the second and even third favorite to win the Stanley Cup at most NHL betting sites, Florida is a force. They have every chance in this series.
History Between The Two
There are a few interesting storylines to keep an eye on in the series. Eric Staal and Marc Staal of the Panthers will face brother Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes in what is going to be a brotherly affair. Florida head coach Paul Maurice meanwhile coached Carolina for 11 seasons and even took the organization to the Stanley Cup final in 2002 before losing to the Detroit Red Wings.