2024 Eastern Conference Final: Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers Game 1 Open Thread

The battle for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final begins tonight. Madison Square Garden is the scene for the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals as the Rangers play host to the reigning conference champion Florida Panthers. Meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 1997, and second time ever, the Blueshirts will need to bring their "A" game in order to advance any further against a Panthers team well versed in deep playoff runs.

Florida emerged victorious in two of the three regular season meetings these teams had, although New York won the third and final meeting in late March, the only game of the three to be played after the trade deadline. With the Rangers having five days following their series-clinching victory over Carolina and the Panthers getting four days to rest after knocking out Boston, both teams will take the ice as refreshed as any team can be entering the third round of the playoffs.

Player to Watch: Vincent Trocheck

One of two former Panthers on New York's roster (alongside Alex Wennberg), Trocheck enters the Conference Final as the Blueshirts' leading scorer in the postseason. Currently rocking a 6-8-14 stat line in through the ten games it to the Rangers to win two rounds, Trocheck's second season on Broadway has been a success from opening night in Buffalo back in October all the way through now. Keep an eye on Trocheck as he once again looks to punish one of his former teams on the biggest stage possible and help his current team win its fifth consecutive Game 1 of a playoff series.

Enjoy the game!