With the New York Rangers set to take on the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, a lot will be wondering if the President's Trophy winners will be able to get to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2014 when they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Ahead of the Rangers-Panthers Eastern Conference Final, we'll be making our bold Rangers Eastern Conference Final predictions.

When you get to this point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is hard to tell who will come out on top because every team is so evenly matched. The Rangers and Panthers were two of the best teams in the NHL regular season, and a bounce of the puck could determine the outcome of this series. The Rangers have home ice on their side, so that is a slight advantage, but betting odds have the Panthers as slight favorites in the series.

Both of these teams made it to the Eastern Conference Final without too much trouble, as neither team faced elimination in the first two rounds. The Rangers swept the Washington Capitals in the first round, which was not a surprising outcome, then beat the Carolina Hurricanes in six games. New York did take a 3-0 series lead and lost two games before closing it out in six, but going into that series, the Hurricanes were viewed as a slight favorite when looking at betting odds, and many viewed it as a toss-up. It is easy to forget that the Rangers took down one of the favorites in the east due to how the Hurricanes nearly stormed back.

As far as the Panthers go, they made quick work of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, winning in five games over a team that had given them trouble in the playoffs in prior years. Then, Florida beat the Boston Bruins in six games in the second round. The Panthers had a chance to close it out in five, but ultimately clinched the series in Boston in Game 6.

With the stage set for the Rangers-Panthers Eastern Conference Final matchup, let's get into our bold Rangers predictions.

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Filip Chytil makes an appearance and impact

In the second round against the Hurricanes, Filip Chytil played in just one game, but he looked very good. He played on the third line in the Rangers' 3-2 overtime win in Game 3. He nearly scored a goal that would have been one of the best scored in these playoffs by anyone. In general, he looked fresh and dangerous with the puck on his stick.

Unfortunately, Chytil caught an illness after that, and the Rangers played it safe by sitting him the rest of the series, given his head injury from earlier in this season. Chytil did say he feels good enough to play in Game 1 on Wednesday if given the chance.

“I feel great now, as well,” Filip Chytil said, via Vince Mercogliano of USA Today. “We have a couple more practices and I can work on my game. Let's see what's going to happen on Wednesday.”

It seems like Chytil is begging to play, and if he does, expect him to make an impact and maybe score some big goals like he did in the 2022 playoffs.

Defensive pairings come into question

As the Rangers lost their first two games of the postseason and nearly lost Game 6, some of the defensemen caught criticism, specifically Jacob Trouba and Erik Gustafsson. At the start of the playoffs, the pairings featured Ryan Lindgren with Adam Fox, K'Andre Miller with Braden Schneider and Trouba with Gustafsson. In Game 6, Trouba was moved up to the pairing with Miller, while Schneider was moved to the pairing with Gustafsson.

The Panthers do grade out better when it comes to five-on-five. The Rangers hold the advantage with goaltending and arguably with special teams, but at even strength, expect some tough moments for the Rangers, especially when either Trouba or Gustafsson are tasked with moving the puck out of their own zone.

Rangers' special teams continues to impress

So far in these playoffs, the Rangers' penalty has impressed and killed 89.5 percent of opponent's power plays. The power play has converted on 31.4 percent of their chances. Both units were elite during the regular season, and along with the play of Igor Shesterkin, that has been the Rangers' bread (pun intended) and butter.

The power play success is well-documented. It is not a surprise that a unit with Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Vincent Trocheck and Chris Kreider is successful. The penalty kill is just as impressive, not only by preventing goals against, but it has scored four short-handed goals in these playoffs as well. The unit is dangerous with Zibanejad and Kreider out there.

Expect the Rangers' special teams success to continue.

Rangers win in 7 games and Vincent Trocheck is the best skater

New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck (16) comes off the ice after the warmups before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes in game six of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena
© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

There has arguably been no better skater in these layoffs than Vincent Trocheck, as he leads the team with six goals and eight assists for 14 points. He has scored numerous huge goals in these playoffs, and he was huge against his former team in the Panthers in round two.

Trocheck is a former Panther as well. Expect his playoff success to continue in the Eastern Conference Final, and for home ice to benefit the Rangers as they win in seven games.