Three keys for the Panthers to have success against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final

The Florida Panthers are one series away from returning to the Stanley Cup Finals.

After defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games and the Boston Bruins in six in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Panthers are in the Eastern Conference final, where they will face the Presidents Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the best-of-7 series. Game 1 is at 8 p.m. Wednesday at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“They were the best team in the regular season,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “They have a lot of good offensive players and they have a deep lineup, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but I think we’re ready for that. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and play our game as good as possible.”

It’s just the second time the teams have faced each other in the playoffs, with the other matchup coming in the 1997 playoffs — New York won that series in five games.

Here are three keys for the Panthers in their series against the Rangers as they make a bid to return to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Limit the Rangers’ power play

The Rangers had one of the most lethal power-play units during the regular season, with their 26.4 percent success rate while playing with an extra skater ranking as the third best in the NHL during the regular season.

They have managed to up their production even more in the postseason, scoring on 31.4 percent of their power plays (11 goals in 35 opportunities) during their first two playoff series against the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have posted an 86.1 percent success rate on the penalty kill, allowing opponents to score just five power-play goals in 36 opportunities this postseason. This included just one power-play goal in the Bruins series.

Win the goaltending battle

The Panthers have already had to face two stellar goaltenders in Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and Boston’s Jeremy Swayman in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Now, in the Eastern Conference final, they get the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin.

Shesterkin has been stellar in net for New York throughout the playoffs, posting a .923 save percentage and being credited for 6.28 goals saved above average — both second to Boston’s Swayman.

And while his stats might not reflect it, Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky has been dominant in his own right through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Vezina Trophy finalist has a 2.37 goals against average and a .902 save percentage, but it’s worth noting that 12 of the 26 goals he has allowed have come in Florida’s three losses. In the eight wins, he has given up just 14 goals — an average of 1.75 per game — and has a .920 save percentage (162 saves on 176 shots on goal).

Continue strong production on the road

For the first time this playoffs, the Panthers are beginning a series on the road.

That isn’t fazing them, nor should it, considering their success away from home this season. Florida won a franchise-record 26 road games in the regular season, tying the Dallas Stars for the most in the NHL. That success has continued in the playoffs, with Florida going 4-1 so far away from Sunrise.