The Florida Panthers look almost certain to make the 2022-23 NHL playoffs. While they didn’t get off to the best start of the season, they have a roster capable of turning their fortunes around. The Panthers made the playoffs in the last three seasons, making them strong contenders again this year, and they were amongst the top contenders to lift the Stanley Cup in NHL betting preseason.
The Panthers have a talented roster including Matthew Tkachuk who had a reasonable start to the campaign, leading the team on points and assists. Meanwhile, Carter Verhaeghe has shown he has scoring ability. Defensive players Brandon Montour and Gustav Forsling are also two of the team’s leaders in assists.
Elsewhere, Sam Bennett and Aaron Ekblad are valuable components of the Panthers’ starting line. Regarding goaltending, Spencer Knight has a save percentage of close to 92 percent, typically giving up 2.6 goals per game.
The Panthers won 58 games last season, which helped them win the Atlantic Division. They also led the league with 122 points and defeated the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2022 playoffs. However, they were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in round two. It’s only the second time in franchise history that they went beyond the opening round.
Before last season, the Panthers made it to the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for two consecutive years. They were eliminated by the New York Islanders and the Lightning, respectively.
The Panthers franchise was founded in 1993 and played its first season in the same year. They set the league record for most points by an expansion team in its inaugural campaign. They entered the Stanley Cup finals in their third season but were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.
Aside from winning one conference championship, they also have one Presidents’ Trophy and three division titles. They’ve also made the playoffs seven times. They have returned to the Atlantic Division after being assigned to the Central Division in 2020-21.
The Panthers play their home games at FLA Live Arena, which opened in 1998. The venue went by former names like National Car Rental Center, Office Depot Center, Bank Atlantic Center, and BB&T Center. It can accommodate up to 19,250 spectators for an ice hockey game. The arena also boasts several dining options like food courts and purchase kiosks.
Given that it’s the southernmost NHL franchise, the Panthers feel the advantage every time they play at home. Panthers fans can go loud, especially if their team needs support against playoff-caliber squads.
The Panthers are rivals with the Lightning, given the frequency of their playoff meetings lately. Being based in Florida adds drama to their contests, but after two meetings, the Panthers have yet to win in the postseason against Tampa Bay. The Lightning also leads the all-time series, 76-62-10-13.
However, the Panthers have the upper hand in regular season matches, 73-49-10-19. The Lightning has also won their last six faceoffs. Aside from Tampa Bay, the Panthers are also rivals with the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, they haven’t won in the postseason against either team.