2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (2023)

Bruins

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights

/ por Nick Goss

Bruins

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (1)

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (2)

(Video) The Haters Guide to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final
2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (3)

For the first time since 2018, the Stanley Cup Final features two teams that have never won a championship.

One of those teams from that 2018 series, the Vegas Golden Knights, are back in the Cup Finals after losing in five games to the Washington Capitals five years ago. Vegas getting to this stage is not a surprise. This franchise has only been in the NHL for six seasons, but has advanced to the Western Conference Finals four or more times. The Golden Knights also finished with the best record (51-22-9) in the Western Conference during the regular season.

Panthers' run to Stanley Cup final makes Bruins' defeat all the more painful

Their opponent, the Florida Panthers, were not expected to be even remotely close to the Cup Final. The Panthers didn't secure a playoff berth until the last week of the regular season, and they came by a single point. They defeated the Boston Bruins, who broke the record and won the Presidents' Trophy.in the first round, despite being down 3-1 in that series. Since losing Game 4 to the Bruins, the Panthers have won 11 of their last 12 games. It took them just five games to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round and then beat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It's been a truly remarkable run for the Panthers, as they beat the top three teams in the East to reach the Cup Final for the first time since 1996.

Here's what Bruins fans should know going into the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals. Game 1 is Saturday night in Las Vegas.

first time for everything

As noted above, one of these teams will win the Stanley Cup for the first time. It is only the seventh cup final series in playoff history to involve this type of scenario and only the third this century.

Here is the complete list of those particular series (winner in italics):

  • 2023: Panthers vs. Golden Knights
  • 2018:Capitalsagainst Gold Saints
  • 2007:Ducksagainst senators
  • 1999:starsagainst sabers
  • 1996:Avalancheagainst Panthers
  • 1991:penguinsvs North Stars (agora Dallas Stars)
  • 1934:Blackhawkscontra Red Wings

If the Golden Knights lose this series, they will join the Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars as the only teams in the 21st century with multiple Cup Final losses.

(Video) This was an absolutely brutal loss

Another number 8 title winner?

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (4)

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The NHL has not used the traditional No. 1 to No. 8 ranking since the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but as the second wildcard team in the East, the Panthers are the equivalent of a No. 8 seed.

The only No. 8 (or equivalent) to win the Stanley Cup was the 2012 Los Angeles Kings. They went 12–2 in the Western Conference playoffs before eliminating the Devils in Game 6 of the Cup Final. Only two other teams that placed lower than 4th have won the Stanley Cup. The 1980 New York Islanders and 1995 New Jersey Devils won as the No. 5 seed.

Since the league began its alignment of the Eastern and Western Conferences in the 1993-94 season, seven teams have reached the Stanley Cup Finals as either No. 7 or No. 8. The most recent example is the 2017 Nashville Predators, who were the second wild card team in the Western Conference and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Cup Final. The 2012 Kings are the only team in that group to have won a title.

History is against the Panthers, but it would be foolish to write them off considering how dominant they've played thus far.

local connections

The biggest local star in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final is Jack Eichel. The North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native and former Boston University standout is making his first Cup final appearance since being drafted in 2015. Eichel has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 17 games for the Golden Knights during the playoffs.

He is not the only Hockey East alumnus in this series.

Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour (UMass Amherst), defenseman Casey Fitzgerald (Boston College), and forward Ryan Lomberg (Maine), as well as Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick (UMass Amherst) all played in Hockey East.

Panthers forward Colin White hails from Hanover, Massachusetts.

Former Bruins players in this series

The Panthers roster does not have any players who appeared in a regular season or playoff game for the Bruins. There are two such players on the Golden Knights roster - Phil Kessel and Reilly Smith.

(Video) Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Run 2023

Kessel, who was named No. 5 overall by the Bruins in 2006, is an important player at this point in his career and has had trouble breaking the lineup in the playoffs. He's been a healthy scratch since Game 5 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets. Kessel was one of only three Golden Knights players to appear in all 82 regular season games. He is a two-time Stanley Cup winner (2016 and 2017 Penguins), so his experience could prove valuable in this series if he gets the opportunity to play.

The other ex-Bruin in Las Vegas is Reilly Smith. The veteran forward played for Boston during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns. He was traded to the Panthers in July 2015. The Golden Knights acquired him from the Panthers in a pre-expansion trade in 2017. Smith has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in Vegas' 17 playoff games so far.

Bruce Cassidy has another shot at glory

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (5)

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The Bruins fired Cassidy after a Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the 2022 playoffs. Nearly a year later, Cassidy put the Golden Knights on the cusp of a championship.

Cassidy is making his second Stanley Cup Final appearance. The first came with the Bruins in 2019 against the St. Louis Blues. The B's lost in Game 7 at home - their third loss in four games at TD Garden in the series. It was a crushing defeat for Cassidy, but now he has another chance to finish the job.

"It's an honor and a privilege to coach any team in the NHL. For me, it's with the Golden Knights," said Cassidy.told reporters after Vegas conqueredthe Western Conference title on Monday night. "We were looking at this as a family as a new adventure for us, and here we are going to the Stanley Cup final. It's what you want, but 31 other teams too, right? Only two get there. It looks great now. I think that as a coach you're going to enjoy a little bit and then get back to work.

"I was there once and it didn't work out - I lost in Game 7. So, you know there's a lot of work ahead of you, but I believe you have to enjoy those moments, it's not easy to do."

Playoff MVP Favorites

2023 Stanley Cup Final: Bruins Fans Guide to Panthers v Golden Knights (6)

(Video) Jack Eichel Reacts to Making Stanley Cup Finals in First Playoff Appearance & Florida Impressions

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The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the playoff MVP. Unlike the NBA Finals MVP, the Conn Smythe Trophy takes into account all four rounds of the playoffs, so it is not always awarded to the best player in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Here are the players with the best chances of winning the Conn Smythe,por BetMGM.

  • Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Panteras: +200
  • Matthew Tkachuk, RW, Panthers: +300
  • Jack Eichel, C, Golden Knights: +400
  • Jonathan Marchessault, RW, Golden Knights: +650
  • William Karlsson, C, Golden Knights: +650
  • Adin Hill, G, Golden Knights: +1000
  • Mark Stone, RW, Golden Knights: +1500

It would be absolutely shocking if the Panthers won the Stanley Cup and a player not named Bobrovsky or Tkachuk was named Conn Smythe's winner. Those two players have carried Florida to this point. Tkachuk, in particular, is the most deserving. He added 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 16 games, which ranks second among all playoff scorers. Three of his nine goals were scored in extra time.

Tkachuk was incredibly influential during the Eastern Conference Finals, as he scored or assisted on the game-winning goal in each of Florida's four wins.

Matthew Tkachuk's Eastern Conference Finals...

Game 1: 4OT winning goal
Game 2: OT winning goal
Game 3: Assist for the winning goal
Game 4: Scored the winning goal with 4 seconds left to send the Panthers through to the final

An all-time clutch performance ð¯pic.twitter.com/fdvmGsXgRZ

— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce)May 25, 2023

Bobrovsky was a little shaky against the Bruins in the first round and allowed three or more goals in four games. But since the start of the second round, the veteran goalkeeper has conceded fewer than three goals in eight of his last nine games. Bobrovsky will have a great chance of defeating Conn Smythe if he neutralizes the Gold Saints' powerful attack.

Vegas' candidate pool is slightly larger, with Eichel the favorite as the team's top scorer in the postseason. But the door is open for someone like Marchessault or Karlsson to move up the ranks of the most deserving players.

FAQs

What teams are in the Stanley Cup Finals 2023? ›

There are only two teams left standing in the 2023 NHL Playoffs: The Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights. No matter how the Stanley Cup Final matchup turns out, it'll be a historic moment for the winner, as it will be both the Panthers' and the Golden Knights' first ever championship.

Where is the Stanley Cup Final 2023? ›

Golden Knights to play Panthers in championship series, which begins Saturday. Here is the schedule for the 2023 Stanley Cup Final between the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers. The best-of-7 series will begin Saturday in Las Vegas. All games will start at 8 p.m. ET (subject to change).

How won the Stanley Cup 2023? ›

The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning in six games, winning their first playoff series since 2004.

How many teams have not won the Stanley Cup? ›

Twelve NHL teams have never won the Stanley Cup. Of those teams, two are still alive in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights.

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