The Vegas Golden Knights have one more hill to climb to claim the Stanley Cup, professional hockey’s most coveted prize. But first, they must battle a team that has been playing hard-nosed, in-your-face, hard-hitting hockey, to get to the championship series. I’m talking about Florida’s “nasty” Panthers.
In their trek to the Stanley Cup Finals, the “nasty” Panthers have knocked out the experts’ top choice to become this season’s champions, the Boston Bruins. The Bruins set records for the most wins (65) and most points (135) in the regular season, and yet, Florida was able to knock them off in dramatic fashion in their seven-game series.
Next up, the second-place team behind the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Once again, the eighth-seeded Panthers found a way to beat a team loaded with superstar players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Ryan O’Reilly. And they did it in just five games.
The Carolina Hurricanes had a terrific season, winning the Metro Division with 113 points, the second-best record behind only Boston. All of the games were very close, but the Panthers won four consecutive games by one goal to sweep the series. Are the Florida Panthers a team of destiny?
Well, the Vegas Golden Knights will have something to say about that. They have silenced their critics all season long, first by clinching the Pacific Division regular season title. Then, they won the Western Conference regular season championship with 111 points, third best record in the league. And, then they won the Western Conference playoffs with a convincing 6-0 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday night.
To claim Lord Stanley’s Cup, they must face-off against a team that loves to get nasty and intimidate the opposition. The “nasty” Panthers do it with huge body-checks, a relentless forecheck, and lots of chirping (talking smack) between the whistles.
Scroll down to see videos of some of the nastiest players on the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers.