New York Rangers progress to the Eastern Conference Finals to face Florida Panthers

Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after
Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After a war with Carolina, the New York Rangers march onto the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will take on the Florida Panthers, the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. It will be difficult for the Blueshirts to make the run to the Stanley Cup Finals, which we all want to see. New York knows this is a winnable series and a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals is a real possibility here. 

However, the Panthers will not just lay down and let the Rangers dance through to the finals. That squad wants another shot at the Stanley Cup. Florida isn't like Carolina. Where the Hurricanes had structure, an elite defense, and a relentless forecheck, the Panthers are ferocious in their attack, boast elite scoring talent on every line, and can blow teams away. It's a challenging opponent, but the Rangers have no choice but to overcome them. 

The Florida Panthers know that, with the way the Rangers have played this postseason, they have a solid chance of repeating as the Eastern Conference's representative in the Stanley Cup Finals. New York had a lot of issues 5-on-5 against Carolina, but those won't be exploited so much in a series against the Panthers. Florida is going to come in waves on the powerplay on the rush. They're not going to swarm like Carolina did. 

How the Rangers can win this series is pretty simple. The Panthers have an extremely inconsistent netminder in the form of Sergei Bobrovsky. Getting the puck behind him can be hard when he's at his shining best, but if they can get to him early in the series, they can mess with his confidence and take much of the sting out of the threat. Florida wants to break onto the Rangers; they won't want to get into a forechecking battle. 

The two coaches have a tie to the team the Rangers just eliminated. Paul Maurice was the coach before and after Peter Laviolette in Carolina, and they were two driving factors into the coach that became Rod Brind'Amour. Laviolette's defensive structure and Maurice's aggressive demands will be tested now, as the two highest active coaches in wins will go toe-to-toe trying to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.