After barely making it to the playoffs as the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, Matthew Tkachuk and co. had to do the impossible against the top teams in NHL. When the postseason started, no one would have believed that the Panthers would even make it to the Final considering the opponents they had to face.
The Panthers had the Boston Bruins in the first round, and it would have been acceptable had Florida lost. Not only did Boston have the best record in the league, but the team also took a 3-1 lead in the series before Paul Maurice's men staged an incredible comeback.
After taking care of business against the Bruins, they then played the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. Of course the Panthers pulled off upsets one after the other in order to book a Stanley Cup Final date with the Vegas Golden Knights.
With that said, the Panthers became the first team in NHL history to face four of the five highest-seeded teams from the regular season in a single playoff run. As mentioned, Boston was no. 1, Carolina was second, while Toronto and Vegas were fourth and fifth, respectively, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The Panthers are the first team in NHL history to face four of the NHL’s five highest-seeded teams from the regular season during a single playoff year. https://t.co/CNFaKOOQW4
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 4, 2023
With that said, if the Panthers are able to pull it off against the Golden Knights, they will become the first team ever in league history to beat four top-five teams en route to the title. Of course that won't be easy, but it will be wrong to doubt Florida at this point.
Vegas took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday, but don't expect Florida to make it easier in Game 2 as they return to T-Mobile Arena.