The Offence Is Clicking

The Florida Panthers lost in the 2022-23 Stanley Cup Finals to the Vegas Golden Knights, and it looks like they have a chance to make it again in 2024. The recent stretch of play for the Panthers has been impressive, as the teams won seven straight and eight of their last 10 games.

With the recent success, there’s one reason why Florida has played as well as they have. They’ve scored at least four goals in every game besides one and even scored eight against a great Colorado Avalanche team. 

In this stretch, the Panthers have wins over Stanley Cup contenders. They’ve beaten the Golden Knights twice, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers, and the Avalanche. Winning against those teams is impressive, but doing so while winning seven straight shows the type of team they can be.

Head coach Paul Maurice spoke about the uptick in offence recently, pointing to the faith and confidence the team has in each other. He said the following, according to Florida Hockey Now:

“I think they’ve got a lot of faith in each other in the game, and even though we haven’t been a high-scoring team this year, we are capable of generating more offence. It’s not the first thing we’re trying to do, but I think they’ve got a lot of confidence in each other.”

Can They Upset the Bruins?

The question for the Panthers remains the same as it was last year. Can they beat the Boston Bruins?

While they did last season in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning the series 4-3, it’s tough to imagine them doing so two years straight. Beating Boston once is tough enough, but beating them two years in a row will be a difficult task for this Panthers team.

The one thing that should help them is the veteran leadership on the roster. Sam Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, and Sergei Bobrovsky have the experience they need to win the Stanley Cup and beat any team in hockey.

Their impressive winning streak has built confidence in the locker room, and that’s contagious around the rest of the team. Barkov spoke after the win against the Avalanche, noting the confidence around the league.

“Coming in here, we know how good they are, we know how good they play at home,” Barkov said. “It’s another big one for us.”

Reinhart also noted confidence after the Avalanche win, as this is flying through the team. Confidence can set them up to be the team that they’re hoping to be this year.

“You see a couple go in early, it’s easier to roll that confidence kind of over and over, and [I’m] playing with some pretty good players as well,” Reinhart said. “When you can get on a roll like this, it takes some pressure off of some other times throughout the season when it’s not going well.”

It Won’t Get Easier for Florida

Despite the recent success, it won’t get any easier for the Panthers. Recent wins indicate that this will be a great season, but things change. However, it’s important to view what they’re doing in the net as the reason for them continuing to succeed. 

With 99 goals given up, the Panthers have given up the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference and the third-fewest goals in the NHL. Their success in the net is due to Bobrovsky having an incredible season. He’s allowed just 2.45 goals per game and has a 20-9-1 record thus far.

If he can continue to keep the puck out of the net the way he has for the entire season and this offence stays as hot as they’ve been, beating the Panthers won’t be easy for anyone.

The goalie has enjoyed every minute for his team this season.

“I really do enjoy the opportunity I have, to be the goalie for this team and being a part of this group here,” Bobrovsky told Florida Hockey Now on New Year’s Day.

“I am happy to come here every day.”

The energy has been as high as it’s ever been in Florida, as the Panthers clearly believe they have a chance to win the Stanley Cup this season. After losing in the Finals last year, they’re coming for what was theirs and trying to win it all this time around.

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