SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season with a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amerant Bank Arena on Saturday.

Florida, which lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games last season, will play either the Edmonton Oilers or Dallas Stars. Edmonton leads that best-of-7 series 3-2.

“Last year was the first year we went that far and it felt amazing,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said. “You wanted to do everything you could to get back here. We all know it’s not one big thing, it’s not one day. You have to start the grind in the summer, in training camp. ... We all had the same goal to get better and get back. Here we are again.”

Sam Bennett and Vladimir Tarasenko scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for the Panthers, who are the No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Division.

Artemi Panarin scored, and Igor Shesterkin made 32 saves for the Rangers, who were the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division and won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top team during the regular season.

“It was difficult to score, generating the quality we wanted to generate," New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “We knew that coming in from the way [Florida] finished the season and from the first and second round. They weren’t giving up a lot. Ultimately, it is something we were able to do pretty consistently through the course of the year. Look at the scores, the games. Low-scoring, one-goal games. Ultimately, finding the next goal inside of a game could be the difference."

NYR@FLA ECF, Gm6: Bennett blasts in a one-timer to open scoring

Bennett gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 19:10 of the first period. Evan Rodrigues knocked down a clearing attempt by Erik Gustafsson in the neutral zone and swatted the puck to Bennett. Bennett then skated into the zone and sent a pass to Rodrigues, who dropped the puck back to Bennett for a one-timer from the left circle.

“It was big because they are a good team with a lot of offensive weapons,” Bennett said. “[New York] is going to score some goals, but we did a good job of limiting that and just shutting it down. It was a heck of an effort. The close-out games are always the hardest and shows just how dedicated this group is to winning.”

Tarasenko made it 2-0 at 9:08 of the third period, burying a backdoor pass from Anton Lundell at the right post. The play started after Eetu Luostarinen chased down the puck and took it away from Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller.

“It is very good, especially for the young guys, to get this playoff experience,” Tarasenko said. “Most everyone was here last year. It’s one thing to hear about it, it is another thing to feel it. It is helping us out a lot."

NYR@FLA ECF, Gm6: Tarasenko fires it in past Shesterkin

Panarin cut it to 2-1 at 18:20, roofing a shot over Bobrovsky from the right circle with Shesterkin on the bench for the extra skater.

"I don't think you can say they don't deserve to win," Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. "I think they definitely deserved to win series. We were right there but just came up a little short."

NOTES: Since the NHL’s expansion era began in 1967-68, only five other teams had returned to the Stanley Cup Final after losing in it the year prior: the St. Louis Blues in 1969 and 1970, the Boston Bruins in 1978, the Oilers in 1984, and the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. ... The last team to win the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season was the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. ... Tarasenko's game-winning goal was his first point of the series.

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