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Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers are a professional ice hockey team based in the Greater Miami area.
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Home ArenaAmerant Bank Arena
Stanley Cup Titles1 (2023-24)
Conference Champion3 (1995-96,2022-23 and 2023-24)
President Trophy1 (2021-22)


They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference, and initially played their home games at Miami Arena before moving to the Amerant Bank Arena in 1998. Located in Sunrise, Florida, the Panthers are the southernmost team in the NHL. The team's local broadcasting rights have been held by Bally Sports Florida (formerly SportsChannel and Fox Sports Florida) since 1996. The Panthers are primarily affiliated with two minor league teams: the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

The Panthers began playing in the 1993–94 NHL season, where they set the record for the most points by an expansion team in its inaugural season until surpassed by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017–18. The team has made two appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals, first in 1996, losing to the Colorado Avalanche, and again in 2023, as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Between 1996 and 2022, the Panthers only qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs seven times, not winning a playoff series again until 2022.

The Rat Trick and Road to Stanley Cup Final 1996編集

A very unusual goal celebration developed in Miami during the 1995–96 season. On the night of the Panthers' 1995–96 home opener, a rat scurried across the team's locker room. Scott Mellanby reacted by "one-timing" the rat against the wall, killing it. That night, he scored two goals, which Vanbiesbrouck quipped was "a rat trick." Two nights later, as the story found its way into the world, a few fans threw rubber rats on the ice in celebration of a goal. The rubber rat count went from 16 for the third home game to over 2,000 during the playoffs.

In the 1996 playoffs, as the fourth seed in the East, the Panthers faced the Boston Bruins in the first round and won in five games. Bill Lindsay's series-clinching goal is still a trademark image for the run the third-year franchise went on. The Panthers went on to upset the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in six games followed by the second-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in seven (with Tom Fitzgerald scoring what would end up being the game-winning goal) to reach the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche, another team making its first Finals appearance. The Avalanche, however, swept the Panthers in four games. Despite losing in the Finals, the Panthers set a record for most wins by an expansion team in their first postseason appearance with 12 victories (this record would later be broken by the Vegas Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017–18). For his team's surprising success, Bryan Murray was honored as NHL Executive of the Year.

Second Stanley Cup Final Attempt編集

For the 2022–23 NHL season, the Panthers looked to carry on their positive regular season streak. However, the team was hampered by injuries, most notably to star center Aleksander Barkov, who was sidelined for a large portion of the season. Despite being outside of playoff contention by February 2023, the Panthers slowly gained momentum, aided by Barkov's return, and eventually finished the season with a 42–32–8 record, good enough for 92 points and the last wild card spot, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins. As such, they were set to battle the record-breaking, 135-point Boston Bruins in the First Round. As the heavy underdogs in the series, the Panthers were down 3–1 after losing game 4 at home. However, they won game 5 in overtime, 4–3 at the TD Garden, and game 6, 7–5, at home to tie the series at 3. In the definitive game 7, the Panthers led 2–0 after the first period, but were down 3–2 with under two minutes left in the third period, facing elimination. However, after goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky left the net to bring an extra skater to the ice, Brandon Montour scored with under a minute left to play to send the game to overtime. In overtime, despite a few saves by Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Carter Verhaeghe scored to win the game 4–3 and stun the Bruins, setting up a Second Round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the Second Round, the Panthers continued their positive streak, defeating the Toronto Maples Leafs in five games. The Panthers played their longest game in franchise history on May 18, against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, which resulted in a 3–2 Panthers victory with Matthew Tkachuk scoring the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left in quadruple overtime.[51] The Panthers would then sweep the Hurricanes in four games (which would be the first time they had swept a playoff series in franchise history), advancing to the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals.

See Also編集

National Hockey League



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