SUNRISE, Fla. – The Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers were back on the ice Wednesday morning for the final practice before they head out to Las Vegas for the Stanley Cup Final.
Local 10 News spoke with Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice who said the team understands the task at hand.
“There’s an excitement now and they’re looking forward to getting on the road,” he said.
The Panthers are heading to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996, a nearly 30 year wait for fans and the organization.
“I think it’s great for the organization, great for the city to be in this position and it’s a lot of fun,” said Panthers Defenseman Josh Mahura.
Panthers players said they’re not letting it get to their heads and know there is more work that needs to be done.
“Our team’s clicking right now we’ve just got to make sure that we pick up where we left off,” said Panthers forward Nick Cousins.
When you’re kind of out of it, even during this playoffs people wrote us off kind of thing and we kind of just battled through it and can always find a way,” said Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe.
After entering the playoffs as an 8th seeded team, the Panthers have been seen as underdogs throughout their entire playoff run, but somehow, they’ve managed to find a way.
Maurice said the Panthers grit comes from their own will to win and the ability to play for each other.
“There’s an unusual group of guys in there and they were like that before I got here and then we got some more personalities, some really important personalities, coming in. It’s about the players here, it truly is.”
Vegas will host Florida in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. The Panthers will be back on their home ice on June 8 and June 10.
NHL Stanley Cup Final Schedule:
- June 3: Panthers at Knights, 8 p.m.
- June 5: Panthers at Knights, 8 p.m.
- June 8: Knights at Panthers, 8 p.m.
- June 10: Knights at Panthers, 8 p.m.
- June 13: Panthers at Knights, 8 p.m.
- June 16: Knights at Panthers, 8 p.m.
- June 19: Panthers at Knights, 8 p.m.