Keys To the East: How the Rangers Can Tame The Panthers For Eastern Crown

It's time to hunt again for the New York Rangers. They've won eight playoff games and defied the odds, "upsetting" the Vegas bettors by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes. However, they still need eight more to reach their goal of winning a Stanley Cup. Yet, to reach their first final in a decade, they must beat the East's reigning beasts, the Florida Panthers. This series should be a classic, so let's consider what to expect. 
Florida Panthers v New York Rangers
Florida Panthers v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Kelly Sutherland, Peter Laviolette
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Masterminds:

When it comes to coaching, these head coaches have not just elevated their teams to the top tier of the NHL; they've done it with an unwavering dedication. They've blended skill with grit, pushing for that playoff-style intensity all season. Now, it's all about which team can rise to the occasion.

Laviolette made his mark with the Rangers, bringing intense practices and a meticulous game plan. His pre and post-practice huddles with tailored tactical drills for upcoming opponents or refining the team's signature 1-3-1 neutral zone trap are noteworthy. The various faceoff plays from assistant coach Mike Pecca the Rangers execute each game are particularly impressive, a departure from the past. While I liked Gerard Gallant, it's clear that parting ways with him was the right decision. The transformation in the Rangers' style of play from last year to now is remarkable. What's even more incredible is that, delving into the 2022 conference finals run under Gallant's first year, it was mainly Igor Shesterkin who the team rallied around, not Gallant. 

What truly impresses me about Laviolette is his strategic prowess. Whether it's strategically sending out specific players for key faceoffs or shaking up defensive pairings mid-game, he's always thinking two steps ahead. And the articluate way he communicates with the media, you can tell he's got a fiery passion for the game.

But Maurice has done the same, revolutionizing his boys since joining the Panthers two seasons ago. His demanding coaching style has pushed his players to their limits in Florida, and it's paid off over the past couple of years. 

This coaching matchup is going to be epic. It's like a chess match on ice, and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. The anticipation is palpable.