Florida Panthers

The Panthers let things get interesting but ended up right where they wanted…

but we can’t say the same for Connor McDavid.

Disaster Averted!

What Happened: Boy, that would’ve been embarrassing.

But the Panthers avoided the worst-case outcome of blowing a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, leaving the 1942 Detroit Red Wings as the only team to pull that off.

Sam Reinhart’s wrist shot in the second period found the back of the net, and despite plenty of juicy chances for the Oilers in the 3rd period, Florida held on for the 2-1 win. After losing in last season’s Final, the Panthers earned their redemption, even if they did so the hard way.

Why It Matters: Florida has the first Stanley Cup in franchise history…so now what? Might as well figure out who’s next!

We already have odds from BetMGM, and unsurprisingly after consecutive trips to the Final, Florida is the early betting favorite as 2025 champs at +900.

One early takeaway from these fresh odds? One might be better off riding with the Western Conference. After Florida, the runner-up Oilers (+1000), Stars (+1000), and Avalanche (+1000) round out the top-4. If the Panthers can’t pull off the repeat, the odds say the Cup won’t stay in the East for very long.

How We’re Feeling Today

Wayne Gretzky

Satisfied by the decision-making of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

For just the sixth time in NHL history, the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy (aka the MVP of the playoffs, not just the Cup final) came from the losing team. The writers awarded Oilers star Connor McDavid despite his team falling just short of a historic comeback.

And good for them! Too many people feel as if the playoffs MVP must come from the team that lifts the Cup, but anyone who paid attention to this postseason knows McDavid was head and shoulders better than any other individual player.

It’s pretty simple: when a player is breaking records once held by Wayne Gretzky, he’s doing something special. Good for the PHWA for recognizing that and rewarding McDavid, even if that trophy probably means very little to #97 at the moment.

The Look Ahead

Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan STRIKEOUTS Ryan’s on the bump for Minnesota today and has to face a Diamondbacks lineup that ranks fifth in the National League in runs scored. One thing Arizona doesn’t do all that often is strike out though – only three teams in the NL whiff at a lower rate than the D-Backs. Ryan’s line is 6.5 today, a total he has failed to reach in consecutive starts. We aren’t sure the Snakes are going to be the club that helps him get over that number.