How to watch and what to expect in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs

The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are the last teams left standing in the NHL playoffs and will play for the Stanley Cup in the best-of-seven final starting Saturday in Sunrise, Florida.

The Panthers remain championship favorites on BetMGM Sportsbook after rallying to beat the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final. Florida is back in the Cup Final for a second consecutive season after winning the Atlantic Division and steamrolling through the East.

Reigning league MVP Connor McDavid has reached this stage for the first time in his nine-year professional career and has gotten the Oilers back in the final for the first time since 2006.

Edmonton has not won the Cup since 1990 — three years before Florida's inaugural season. The Panthers have yet to win it.


The stingy Panthers, who have allowed just over two goals a game thanks to relentless defense and the terrific goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky, meet McDavid and the high-powered Oilers. Edmonton has averaged 3.5 goals a game over the course of this run, led by Zach Hyman's 14.

After injuries derailed Florida a year ago in the five-game Cup Final loss to Vegas, the Panthers appear to be much healthier this time around. That gives coach Paul Maurice options to choose from as he seeks his first NHL title.

"We are as healthy as you could be as a hockey club," Maurice said Tuesday.


Every game of the Stanley Cup playoffs is televised nationally in the U.S. and Canada and available on streaming platforms. The NHL schedule is here and a streaming guide is here. Games are carried in the U.S. on an ABC, ESPN, TNT or TBS and in Canada on CBC or Sportsnet in English and TVA Sports in French.


McDavid, who is just the fifth player in NHL history to get 100 assists in a season, leads all playoff scorers with 31 points in 18 games. German star and longtime running mate Leon Draisaitl is next with 28, and the Oilers have gotten 27 points from defenseman Evan Bouchard.

Bobrovsky is the most important player for Florida, and the two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top netminder is on his game. He has stopped 377 of 415 shots so far this playoffs and is among the Conn Smythe Trophy favorites as postseason MVP.

But he's not alone on the Panthers, with winger Matthew Tkachuk leading the way again like he did last year in his coming-out party. Tkachuk tops Florida with 19 points and dishes out plenty of punishment with hits and physicality, too.


Florida is the -130 (10-13) favorite to win the series, according to BetMGM Sportsbook, while Edmonton is +110.


Game 1 is set for Saturday, June 8 at Florida. Game 2 is Monday, June 10 before the series shifts to Alberta for Game 3 on Thursday, June 13 and Game 4 on Saturday, June 15. If necessary, Game 5 is Tuesday, June 18 back in Sunrise, Game 6 is Friday, June 21 in Edmonton and Game 7 is Monday, June 24 at Florida.


Scoring creativity hasn't stopped now that the playoffs are here, with a handful of goals being scored off the masks of goaltenders. It's an art form shooters are continuing to refine to put the puck in the net at the most difficult time of year to do so.

Some goals, however, have not counted, as goaltender interference challenges have caused plenty of controversy throughout the playoffs. Interference or not, scoring first is no guarantee, as blown leads of various kinds are happening all over the place.

A big Finn is looking to finish the job for the Panthers, with captain Aleksander Barkov again paving the way on and off the ice. Barkov won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward during the regular season.

Buildings are full to the brim all over the continent, from Boston to South Florida to Denver and Vancouver, with record attendance and fans filling arenas to 97% of capacity this season. It's another result of the NHL's booming business.

This year also brought the most-viewed first three rounds in the U.S. since 1996, which coincidentally was Florida's first trip to the final in franchise history. Conference finals ratings increased 34% from last year.

Fans who like fights on the ice have watched the brawls dwindle in recent years and they are a rarity in the postseason. Like tradition? Rest easy: The NHL has no plans to change its 16-team playoff format.



The Associated Press