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Panthers advance to 2nd straight Stanley Cup Final with Game 6 over Rangers

Panthers advance to 2nd straight Stanley Cup Final with Game 6 over Rangers
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The Florida Panthers are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season.

The Panthers finished off the New York Rangers on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory in Game 6. Florida won the series 4-2.

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Sergei Bobrovsky celebrates

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky acknowledges the crowd after his team defeated the New York Rangers in Game 6 to win the Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Sunrise, Florida. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Players made sure to forgo holding the Prince of Wales Trophy – given to the winner of the Eastern Conference. Last year, the team celebrated with the trophy and ended up losing the Stanley Cup to the Vegas Golden Knights.

“We touched it last year and it didn’t work for us,” Panthers star Sam Bennett said. “So, we thought we’d try something different this year.”

Bennett and Vladimir Tarasenko scored the two goals for Florida as Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots.

Florida will make its third Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. The team made it in 1996 but lost to the Colorado Avalanche.

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Florida Panthers celebrate an ECF win

The Florida Panthers pose with the Prince of Wales Trophy after defeating the New York Rangers to win the Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

“My enjoyment of the game — and this is new for me — comes from my understanding that I’m really not that important here,” Florida head coach Paul Maurice said. “And I mean that. There’s a great line, ‘Don’t be so humble, you’re not that good.’ It’s the players. And when they’re going, they don’t need me.”

Maurice will also make his third Stanley Cup appearance behind the bench. He was the head coach for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002 when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings.

The Rangers finished the 2023-24 season with the most points in the NHL at 114.

But another crippling end to the season continues what’s come to be known as the Presidents’ Trophy curse. The team with the best record in the NHL to last win a Stanley Cup was the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks.

“Listen, our guys fought this year,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “They bought in right from the start. It’s disappointing; when you start something like this you don’t do it to get three wins in the playoffs or five wins in the playoffs. You do it to go the whole way.”

Sergei Bobrovsky makes a save

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky defends the goal during the Eastern Conference finals, Saturday, June 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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The Panthers await the winner between the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Ryan Gaydos is a senior editor for Fox News Digital.

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