The Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers fight it out for the Stanley Cup over the next two weeks, in the conclusion to the world’s premier and most lucrative ice hockey competition.
North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) season 2023 sees the finalists, both having previously appeared once in the finals and lost, chasing victory in a best of seven series, starting Sunday and culminating by June 20.
The winner of the Cup finals will take home $US3.75 million ($5.7 million) and a ring for each player and coach.
Emily Luke, executive officer from Ice Hockey NSW, said: “It’s a fast paced and action-packed team sport.
“Combining the skills of skating, coordination of shooting, passing and defending makes the Stanley Cup Final a great watch.”
The Stanley Cup Final has been a yearly feature on the sports calendar since its inaugural season in 1910. It was named after the Canadian Governor General Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy in 1893 to the top amateur Canadian Ice Hockey Team.
Since then, the Stanley Cup has become the pinnacle of ice hockey worldwide, with players enduring an 82-game regular season and a playoff series to earn the trophy. Last year over 4.6 million people worldwide saw the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Tampa Bay Lighting four games to two.
It's official – there will be a new #StanleyCup champion in 2023!
The @GoldenKnights and @FlaPanthers vie for their first-ever championship with both clubs making their second appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. #NHLStats: https://t.co/1BOy9gcFK0 pic.twitter.com/wyzknyvXel
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 30, 2023
The Vegas Golden Knights won the Western Conference title defeating the Dallas Starts 6-0 to win the series 4-2. At the end of the home-and-away season, Vegas finished first with 111 points, making this season their highest-scoring season ever in the NHL.
In the Playoffs, the Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 before beating the second-seeded Edmonton Oilers 4-2. The Golden Knights were only established in 2016 and have already reached an NHL final in 2018, where they lost 4-1 against the Washington Capitals.
Jack Eichel is the player to look out for if you are rooting for the Golden Knights. Eichel has featured in all 17 games this playoff series, assisted 12 goals, and scored six goals. Within the regular season, Eichel contributed the most, with 27 goals and 39 assists in just 67 games. This season will mark Eichel’s first ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance in the forward’s eight-year career.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 30, 2023
The Florida Panthers are the fourth-ever eighth-seeded team to reach the Stanley Cup Final as they overcame the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 to win the Eastern Conference.
Since that clean sweep victory, the Panthers earned themselves a 10-day break, double the time than the Golden Knights.
Last season the Panthers finished 1st at the end of the regular season but ended up going out to the Tampa Bay Lighting 4-0 in the Conference Semi-Finals.
This season the Panthers, won 42 out of the 82 games in the regular season, putting them only one point in front of the ninth-place non-play-off team, the Penguins.
The Panthers first faced top-seeded Boston Bruins and overcame a 3-1 deficit to clinch the series 4-3. They then moved on to the Conference Semi-Finals, where they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1, which guaranteed them a spot in the Conference Final with the Carolina Hurricanes.
This is only the second time the Panthers have made it to the Stanley Cup Final. The last time was in the 1995-1996 season when they lost 4-0 to the Colorado Avalanche.
For the Panthers, the player to look out for is Matthew Tkachuk. In the forward 2022-2023 NHL season, he has clocked in 95 games for the Panthers.
In the playoffs, he accumulated nine goals and 12 assists, four of the goals coming from the Panther’s clean sweep of the Hurricanes last week.
Tkachuk accumulated 109 goals and assists combined in the regular season, far more than anyone else in the franchise. This year will be Tkachuk’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance in the forward’s seven-year NHL career.
Tkachuk will enter the SCF with 130 points in his 1st season w/ FLA (regular season & playoffs combined) Only 2 players in NHL history have had more points in their first season with a club: Gretzky (190 in 1988-89 w LAK & 140 in 1979-80 w/ EDM) & Selanne (138 in 1992-93 w/ WIN). pic.twitter.com/hY34pRrEq0
— Florida Panthers PR (@FlaPanthersPR) May 29, 2023
To see the Stanley Cup live, Australian viewers can view it on Foxtel Now and Kayo at 10am (AEST).
Main Image, supplied graphic by Eric Poole and picture by Clyde/Flickr.