Mar 7, 2024 - News

Time to hop on the Florida Panthers bandwagon

 Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Florida Panthers celebrates with fans his goal to tie the game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Amerant Bank Arena

Matthew Tkachuk celebrates with fans after a goal. Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

In case you missed it, it's time to hop on the Florida Panthers bandwagon again. (Or would that be a Zamboni?)

Why it matters: The Panthers have the best record in the NHL and are being compared to the "Big Three" Heat teams that won two championships with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Catch up quick: Florida leads the league with 43 wins and 90 points, and the Panthers are 25-4-2 since Dec. 23, per CBS.

  • The Cats have won six straight games and 12 of the last 13.
  • They are tied as the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup, which would be the team's first championship.

Flashback: Florida made the Stanley Cup Final last year after barely making the playoffs as the lowest-ranked No. 8 seed.

What they're saying: "This is the best team in this market since the Big Three," proclaimed Chris Cote of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.

  • "They are playing as well as they ever have in this franchise's history," the show's Michael Ryan Ruiz added. "If you like winning titles and you like how that feels, get behind this team."

If you're not a big Panthers fan but want to follow along this season, we have some easy ways to help you fit in.

Nicknames: Matthew Tkachuk is Chucky. Sergei Bobrovsky is Bob. Aleksander Barkov is Sasha or Barky. Ryan Lomberg is the Lomberg-ini.

Rats: Panthers fans toss fake rats onto the ice when their team wins. They used to do it after goals dating back to 1996 but the NHL banned that. (They are $5 at the team store but a lot cheaper on Amazon.)

Slang: Players' teeth are called chiclets, chirping means trash talking and dangling means faking out a defender with filthy stickhandling.

Merch: The Cats have some of the best merch of any South Florida sports team. We particularly love this cafecito-themed Gatos hoodie.

What we're watching: The NHL trade deadline is Friday and the Panthers are reportedly trading for four-time All Star winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

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