The Florida Panthers haven't played a hockey game since dispatching the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the East Final to complete the sweep on May 25 — and the team is in full rest and recovery mode ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.
“We just have a plan now of what we're going to do the next few days here before we travel,” defenseman Marc Staal said, per NHL.com.
“So everyone knows what we've got the next few days, and we'll prepare as best we can and go from there. So, it just gets a little more structured if we know what we're doing and prepare that way.”
The Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars are gearing up for Game 6 at the American Airlines Center in Texas, and could be headed back to Vegas for Game 7 if the Stars can get a win at home.
Regardless of how the series finishes, the Stanley Cup Final will start on Saturday, Jun. 3 in either Las Vegas or Dallas; both teams exceeded Florida's point percentage in 2022-23.
“The positive for us is we do have players that are healing,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice explained. “That quadruple overtime game, there was a cost to it for both teams, and I don't think that you get to recover from that until the series is over. I would take the rest over worrying about how sharp we're going to be.”
By the time Game 1 rolls around, the Panthers will have had 10 days of rest between games, but they aren't too worried about the long layoff.
“Recovery is the key,” Maurice continued. “That is a better word than rest. We want to be actively involved in that recovery.”
With the long time between games, the team will be rested and fully healthy when they play Game 1 of their first Stanley Cup Final since 1996 at either T-Mobile Arena or the American Airlines Center.
“It doesn't really matter [who we play]” forward Carter Verhaeghe said. “We just take it day by day and every day is a new day and a good day to still be playing hockey.”