The stage is officially set. The Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights will meet in the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals, which begin on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. Florida finds themselves representing the Eastern Conference after running through the Carolina Hurricanes in the last round, while Vegas took down the Dallas Stars in six games.
Stanley Cup Finals: Panthers vs Golden Knights Series Preview
- The stage is set as the Panthers and Golden Knights have a date in the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals.
- Vegas is the series favorite
- Read on for the preview and analysis for both teams
These two teams met just twice during the regular season, both winning one game apiece. However, Vegas has won six of the last seven dating back to January of 2019.
Florida Riding a High
The Panthers came into the playoffs as a massive underdog. In fact, they barely made it in. But, that hasn’t stopped Paul Maurice’s group from making history. Florida overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first round against the Boston Bruins, one of the best NHL teams ever. The Panther shocked them on home ice and then cruised into the second round and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games, a squad who thought they were getting a favorable matchup.
Then in the conference finals, the Panthers ran through Carolina, sweeping them in four games. While every single contest was decided by just one goal, it was still a dominant performance from Florida. This is just their second-ever Stanley Cup appearance, last featuring in the 1996 edition.
Florida Panthers: The Breakdown 📝@NHLdotcom details how our roster was built and the pieces that came together:— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) May 31, 2023
Leading this roster is Matthew Tkachuk, who is having himself quite the playoffs. He has nine goals and 12 assists in 19 games to lead the way. Carter Verhaeghe meanwhile has 15 points, while Aleksander Barkov has 14. There are actually five players in total sitting in double-digits in points. Needless to say, this is a very well-rounded offense. Despite being an underdog at basically every NHL sportsbook, Nothing says Vegas will be able to stop Florida’s improbable run.
Lots of Success For Vegas
The Golden Knights have only been in existence for six years. Yet, this is now their second Stanley Cup appearance, losing in the finals in 2018 to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Success seems to be a foregone conclusion for the franchise, who won the Western Conference during the regular season and then also proved themselves in the playoffs.
After losing the first game of the opening round to the Winnipeg Jets, Vegas scratched off four wins in a row before taking down Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the conference semifinals. The Stars did make things interesting in the last round after nearly coming back from a 3-0 deficit, but the Golden Knights ultimately closed things out on Monday evening with a convincing 6-0 road win.
Jack Eichel is Bruce Cassidy’s best player in the postseason, registering a total of 18 points in 17 outings. That includes six goals and 12 assists. Right on his heels is Jonathan Marchessault, who has netted nine and set up another eight. If you wanna talk about contributions from up and down the lineup, Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, Ivan Barbashev, and William Karlsson all have at least 14 points, too.
Vegas is the favorite with -130 odds at Bodog and will be looking for their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. You better believe they won’t be taking the Panthers for granted though, a team who is firing on all cylinders and has basically looked unbeatable across the last month.