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Vegas gets another shot at the Stanley Cup, this time against the Panthers

The Vegas Golden Knights are a remarkable story.

The team has existed for just six seasons and they’re going to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time. That first trip to the championship round was in the Golden Knights’ first year of existence, which may never be duplicated by another expansion franchise. Vegas lost that series to the Washington Capitals. Vegas earned their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night with a series-closing win over the Dallas Stars.

Maybe this time around, the Golden Knights can bring the Stanley Cup to The Strip. Vegas is a -130 favorite at BetMGM to win the series.

That’s not too bad for the Florida Panthers, a No. 8 seed who navigated his way to the final round and is just a +110 underdog.

Like the Panthers’ NBA counterpart in South Florida, they didn’t have a great regular season. But after barely making the playoffs, they got hot. A comeback win in the first round against a very good Boston Bruins team was a sign of things to come. They dropped only one game in the next two series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky got hot at the right time and helped carry his team to the Stanley Cup Final. Last season the Panthers were the NHL’s best team in the regular season and flamed out in the playoffs; this season they saved their best for the postseason.

Vegas had a more normal path to the Stanley Cup Final. The Golden Knights won their division. In the playoffs they beat the Winnipeg Jets in five games, then the Edmonton Oilers and Stars in six games each. It’s a team without a lot of big-name stars — the Golden Knights didn’t have a 30-goal scorer this season — but is deep and keeps winning. They’ll also have home-ice advantage for the Stanley Cup Final.

It’s not a Stanley Cup Final matchup of two traditional powers. Neither the Panthers nor the Golden Knights have ever won a Stanley Cup. But it should be a fun series. No matter whether the Cup goes to Vegas or Miami, you can bet there will be a good party for it.

Vegas Golden Knight center Ivan Barbashev celebrates after right wing Jonathan Marchessault scored during the second period of Game 6 in the Western Conference finals. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

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