Florida Panthers Playoff History
(Photo Credit: Gatorfan252525/ Wikimedia Commons)

The Florida Panthers have had a rollercoaster ride when it comes to their playoff history since joining the NHL in 1993. From Cinderella runs to heartbreaking defeats, the Panthers have experienced it all in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Let’s take a closer look at the Panthers’ postseason record, memorable moments, top performers, and more.

Florida Panthers Playoff Record

In their 30 seasons in the NHL (1993-94 to 2023-24), the Panthers have made the playoffs nine times. Their overall playoff series record stands at seven wins and nine losses.

Some notable playoff runs include:

  • 1995-96: Lost in the Stanley Cup Final (Won three rounds)
  • 2022-23: Lost in the Stanley Cup Final (Won three rounds)
  • 2021-22: Lost in the Second Round (Won one round)

The Panthers’ first taste of playoff success came in just their third season, when they made a surprising run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. Led by goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck and forwards Scott Mellanby and Rob Niedermayer, the Panthers upset the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins before falling to the Colorado Avalanche in the Final.

It would be 26 years before the Panthers won another playoff series. In 2022, they finally broke through by defeating the Washington Capitals in six games in the first round before being swept by their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the second round.

Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Wins

The Panthers have never won the Stanley Cup. They have made it to the Stanley Cup Final twice in franchise history:

  • 1996: Lost to the Colorado Avalanche 0-4
  • 2023: Lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 1-4

In 2023, the Panthers authored one of the most stunning upsets in NHL playoff history. As the last team to qualify for the postseason, Florida knocked off the record-setting Boston Bruins in seven games after trailing the series 3-1. The Panthers then dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes to reach the Final for the first time in 27 years.

Memorable Playoff Moments

The Panthers have provided their fans with some unforgettable playoff moments over the years. Here are a few highlights:

  • The Rat Trick: In 1996, Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the locker room before scoring two goals in the Panthers’ home opener. Fans celebrated by throwing plastic rats on the ice, sparking a tradition that carried the team to the Stanley Cup Final.
  • The Comeback Cats: Facing elimination in Game seven against the Bruins in 2023, the Panthers rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the final minutes of regulation before winning in overtime on a goal by Carter Verhaeghe.
  • Tkachuk’s OT Winner: In the longest game in franchise history, Matthew Tkachuk scored with 12.7 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the Panthers a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes in Game one of the 2023 Eastern Conference Final.

Florida Panthers Conn Smythe Winners and Top Performers

No Florida Panthers player has ever won the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the most valuable player in the playoffs.

However, some Panthers have had impressive individual playoff performances:

  • Jonathan Huberdeau led the Panthers in scoring during their 2022 playoff run with two goals and eight assists.
  • Carter Verhaeghe scored six goals and six assists during the Panthers’ run to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.
  • Matthew Tkachuk scored the Panthers’ first-ever Stanley Cup Final game-winning goal in overtime of Game three in 2023.

Florida Panthers Playoff Stats

Here are some of the Panthers’ all-time playoff leaders:

  • Games Played: Robert Svehla (45)
  • Goals: Dave Lowry (10)
  • Assists: Jonathan Huberdeau (14)
  • Points: Aleksander Barkov (22)

While the Panthers are still chasing their first Stanley Cup, they have provided their fans with some thrilling playoff moments over the years. From the “Year of the Rat” in 1996 to their against-all-odds run to the 2023 Final, the Panthers have shown resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

With a core of talented young stars like Aleksander BarkovMatthew Tkachuk, and Sergei Bobrovsky, the future looks bright in South Florida.

The Panthers will continue to pursue hockey’s ultimate prize, aiming to bring the Stanley Cup to the Sunshine State for the first time. Their playoff history is still being written, but one thing is certain – the Panthers always make things interesting come springtime.