The Florida Panthers are headed to the 2023 Stanley Cup Remaining. Consequently, they’ve drawn comparisons to groups of the previous. The Edmonton Oilers reached the Remaining in 2006 however misplaced in Sport 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings went on a historic Cinderella run, changing into the primary eighth-seed group to win the Stanley Cup. There are positively some similarities between the Panthers and the Kings and the way that they had playoff success.
Excessive Expectations, Huge Trades, and Teaching Modifications
In 2011, the Kings misplaced within the first spherical for the second consecutive yr. The lean seasons earlier than that left them with lots of younger gamers and belongings, so that they determined to take large swings that offseason and purchase Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers, giving up Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and a second-round draft decide within the course of.
Richards offered strong depth at heart alongside a growing Anze Kopitar and a strong third-line pivot in Jarret Stoll. Add them to Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Fast, and several other different proficient kids, and the Kings have been on their strategy to changing into contenders within the Western Convention. The 2011-12 Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE)
Nevertheless, they nonetheless wanted to make two key strikes to essentially compete. First, they changed head coach Terry Murray with Darryl Sutter in December. It was clear by the start and center elements of the season that they wanted extra scoring, they usually traded Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter. This was sufficient for them to sneak into the playoffs and get scorching on the proper time.
The Panthers additionally made an enormous commerce this summer season, buying Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames. The circumstances for this deal have been a lot completely different in comparison with the Kings’ large commerce.
The Panthers traded Johnathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weeger for Tkachuk, two key gamers from the earlier season’s President’s Trophy group. The commerce had many anticipating Florida to be top-of-the-line groups within the East as soon as once more. Tkachuk performed his half, and this commerce has labored out higher than the Richards’ deal did for the Kings to date, however each groups struggled to stay as much as expectations.
The Cats additionally made a training change, however the timing was completely different. They let interim head coach Andrew Brunette go in the summertime and changed him with Paul Maurice. Nevertheless, each groups went for knowledgeable coaches who would play completely different manufacturers of hockey than their predecessors.
Each strikes have been met with skepticism, as Sutter hadn’t coached since 2006, and Maurice had left his job with the Winnipeg Jets in the midst of the earlier season. These hires proved to make a distinction to the group’s playoff success, even when they didn’t get the specified common season outcomes.
Dominant Possession Groups in Common Season
Headed into the 2012 Playoffs, the Kings had the second-most shot makes an attempt at five-on-five within the common season. The commerce so as to add Carter helped translate these shot makes an attempt into targets; they have been final within the league in targets per 60 minutes earlier than the commerce.
With Carter within the lineup for the final 21 video games of the season, they began to click on on offense, scoring the fifth-most targets per 60. Additionally they noticed a noticeable distinction of their taking pictures proportion from the common season to the playoffs, making a leap from 7.49% to 9.33% within the postseason.
The Panthers have been additionally a superb possession group within the common season. They ranked third in Corsi for%, behind solely the Hurricanes and Calgary Flames. They didn’t battle to attain as a lot because the Kings did, as L.A.’s possession numbers barely fell off within the postseason, however to not the extent that Florida’s have. The Panthers’ Corsi is now down to simply 47.75% at five-on-five, however they’ve performed good possession groups within the Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins.
Newest Information & Highlights
The groups had related profiles headed into the postseason. They every had some apparent star gamers who have been a few of the finest of their place. Regardless of this, each groups wanted to get scorching on the finish of the season and barely made the playoffs. The largest similarity they might have is the play they’ve gotten from crucial place in hockey.
The 2011-12 season was Fast’s popping out social gathering. He had been a strong goalie for 3 years prior, however this season was his finest. He had a goals-against common (GAA) below two, and a career-high .929 save proportion (SV%). This was the primary time he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy. Nearly as good as he was within the common season, he was even higher within the playoffs. He posted a surprising .945 SV% and saved 12.68 targets above anticipated.
The common season didn’t go as easily for Sergei Bobrovsky. He had a .901 SV% and saved simply 2.92 GAA. It has been a very long time since Bobrovsky was an elite goaltender within the NHL and struggled towards the top of the common season. That prompted the Panthers to begin Alex Lyon for the primary three video games of the playoffs. Since Bob has regained the starter’s internet, he’s been dominant. He has by far probably the most targets saved above anticipated of any goalie within the 2023 Playoffs and has a SV% of .935.
Associated: Panthers’ Bobrovsky has Been Largest Piece of Stanley Cup Run
There’s usually lots of speak about a scorching goaltender carrying a group to a Stanley Cup Remaining. It hardly ever occurs to this extent, and nonetheless, it takes large performances from the skaters to do it. This is perhaps the largest similarity the 2 groups share, as these have arguably been the 2 finest goalie performances because the NHL started monitoring shot-attempt information in 2007-08. Bobrovsky has presently saved the second-most targets above common, and Fast had the most effective SV% of any goalie who performed greater than seven video games within the playoffs on this period.
Extra Similarities than Variations
These groups actually don’t play the very same model of hockey. The league is completely different in 2023 than it was in 2012. The Kings of that period have been one of many final groups who performed “heavy hockey.” The Panthers’ forecheck is vital to their success, even when they do it a distinct means. It’s clearly an necessary strategy to play within the playoffs, and it might be one thing that has its depth dialed up when the postseason begins.
One of many extra stunning issues in regards to the Kings’ run in 2012 was that they went up 3-0 in each sequence, breezing their strategy to the Cup regardless of being an eighth seed. The Panthers didn’t fairly do this, however after taking place 3-1 to Boston, they’ve gone 11-1 since. That’s the similar stage of dominance that the Kings had, which is never achieved within the playoffs. Each groups really feel like they’re too good to have been eighth seeds, however at instances in the course of the season, it seemed like they’d miss the playoffs.
If Florida wins the Stanley Cup, they’ll have finished so after being the largest longshots coming into the playoffs since these Kings in 2012. Maybe all these groups match a profile of groups we must always look out for when contemplating potential darkish horses coming into the playoffs.