The Florida Panthers will face the Presidents Trophy winning New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals. Both teams have made the Eastern Conference finals in recent years. The Panthers made the Conference Finals last year, beating the Carolina Hurricanes before ultimately losing in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Rangers made the Conference Finals the year before, in a losing effort to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is a true heavyweight tilt and should be an exciting series. Panthers vs Rangers, who has the advantage?

Panthers Vs Rangers Head To Head

Both teams won their respective divisions. The Panthers finished the regular season with a record of 52-26-6 for 110 points. The Rangers had a league leading 114 points with a record of 55-23-4. The Panthers were 2-0-1 against the Rangers during the regular season, outscoring them by a narrow 11-9 margin

The Panthers are 8-3 in these playoffs. They defeated their state rival, Tampa Bay Lightning in 5 games, followed by a 6 game series win against the Boston Bruins.

The Rangers are an impressive 8-2 these playoffs, including the only 4 game sweep this postseason, when they made quick work of the Washington Capitals in round 1. They followed up that dominant performance by taking a 3-0 series lead against the Carolina Hurricanes. They ultimately defeated the Hurricanes in 6 games. 

This will be a tightly contested series with little margin for error. With that said, let’s see how these two teams matchup. 


Panthers vs Rangers is a battle of the Russian goaltenders, as Sergei Bobrovsky will face Igor Shesterkin. Both netminders had really similar numbers in the regular season. Both had 36 wins and 17 regulation losses. Bobrovsky had a .915 save percentage and Shesterkin had a .913 save percentage. Both goalies are elite, and have been extremely consistent in their careers. Bobrovsky is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, and a finalist for the award this year, whereas Shesterkin won that award in 2022. In the playoffs, Bobrovsky has a career .905 save percentage, and Shesterkin has a career .927 save percentage.

This is as close of a goaltending duel as you will see in the playoffs. Shesterkin’s play dipped in the last three games against the Hurricanes, allowing 10 goals during that span. on the other side, Bobrovsky’s play has improved, as he has allowed 2 goals or fewer in each of his last five starts. No team has a definitive advantage in the pipes and it might take some lucky bounces to beat them. However, based off their playoff numbers, give the slight advantage to Shesterkin and the Rangers.


The Rangers had a bend-but-don’t break mentality in round 2 against the Hurricanes. They were outshot in all 6 games of the series and relied heavily on Shesterkin in net. The Rangers need more from blueliner Adam Fox if they want to get past the Panthers. Fox didn’t have a goal, and registered a measly 4 assists in 10 games so far these playoffs. He needs to step it up and be the elite defensemen we know he is.

The Panthers allowed the second fewest goals in the league during the regular season. They also allowed the third fewest shots per game. They are lead by Gustav Forsling, Aaron Ekblad, and Brandon Montour. Those three players are a combined plus 18 in the playoffs. To put that into perspective, the entire Rangers defense core is a combined plus 5. Therefore, the Panthers have a clear defensive edge.


The Panthers forward group is lead by Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart, Vladimir Tarasenko, Carter Verhaeghe, and Selkie award winner Aleksander Barkov. They had a decent powerplay in the regular season that ranked 8th in the league. However, they were a much better 5 on 5 then the Rangers were, and if they can stay out of the box, that will go a long way in ensuring a series win. The Panthers also got more scoring from their D core. Their defense has 7 goals these playoffs, whereas the Rangers backend only has 2 goals.

The blueshirts forward group is lead by Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Vincent Trocheck. They have the star power upfront and do a lot of their damage on the powerplay. They had the 3rd best PP in the regular season. However, if they do not get PP opportunities, they may struggle to produce offensively in large part to Florida’s stellar 5 on 5 play.

The Panthers can match the Rangers star power offensively, and if their blueline can continue to out-produce the Rangers blueline, they will be tough to beat. If Florida can keep the game played at even strength, give them the offensive advantage.


These are two extremely evenly matched teams. This series has the makings of being an instant classic and can go either way. The Panthers have a better defense core, and can go toe to toe with the Rangers offense. Florida’s superior 5 on 5 play gives them the edge.

Therefore, give me the Panthers on the road in 7.

Panthers vs Rangers, game 1 kicks off Wednesday night from Madison Square Garden. Make sure to check out more NHL, and playoff content at Area 51 Sports Network as we inch closer to determining a Stanley Cup Champion.