Panthers fans are in heaven as team is 1 win away from reaching Stanley Cup Final

The Florida Panthers celebrate after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at FLA Live Arena on May 22, 2023 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) (Joel Auerbach, 2023 Getty Images)

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers have exceeded expectations every step of the way during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now, South Florida’s hockey team is one game away from doing something it hasn’t done since 1996.

During Monday night’s Eastern Conference Final Game 3, it only took one goal.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for his first career playoff shutout to help the Panthers take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Alex Lopez, Jacob Langsam, And TJ Peterson are life-long Panthers fans.

“Everything that’s been going on, it’s just…wow” said Lopez.

The three have a podcast called Panther Pouri, and they, like other diehard fans, are enjoying this ride as much as they can.

“To say surreal doesn’t even really capture it,” said Peterson. “It was surreal two weeks ago. This doesn’t happen to the Florida Panthers, it simply doesn’t.”

On Tuesday, Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Eetu Luostarinen addressed the media inside FLA Live Arena.

Ekblad, who has been with the Panthers since being selected first overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, said the team and its fans deserve this.

“Waiting, working to get here, to get to this opportunity, is obviously a long time coming for us, for them,” said Ekblad. “It’s huge, it’s exciting.”

And the fans couldn’t agree more.

“It’s the most energizing feeling that I’ve ever experienced as a hockey fan, being in this building, just packed to the rafters with Panthers fans,” said Langsam. “The rafters which hopefully will have another couple of banners hanging in the near future.”

There was also some good news from Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice on Tuesday.

He said he’s “optimistic” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov, who left Monday’s game during the first period with a lower-body injury, will be available for Game 4 on Wednesday.

About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.