The Florida Panthers are heading to the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes. This will be the team’s second appearance in the Conference Finals since joining the league ahead of the 1993-94 season. The first time the Panthers made the conference finals came in 1996, just three years after their existence. They advanced to the Stanley Cup Final over the Pittsburgh Penguins but were unfortunately swept in four games by the Colorado Avalanche.
This season, Florida finished with a 42-32-8 regular season record with 92 points. They finished the regular season in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and in eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being the second wild card team from the Eastern Conference, the Panthers picked up a huge first round win over the Boston Bruins in seven games. The Bruins had a historic regular season, so Florida advancing is considered one of the biggest playoff upsets in ever.
Using the momentum of the series win over the Bruins, the Panthers cruised to a 4-1 series victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Florida will now face off with the Hurricanes, who they faced three times during the regular season. The Panthers won the first game but then dropped the last two, including the team’s regular-season finale.
Florida is considered the underdog to advance to the Stanley Cup Final at DraftKings Sportsbook. They have +115 odds, while Carolina is the -135 favorite. If the Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final, they will face the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and the Las Vegas Golden Knights.