The Florida Panthers will play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.

Florida eliminated the Boston Bruins with a 2-1 win in Game 6 of the second round at TD Garden in Boston on Friday, one day after New York eliminated the Carolina Hurricanes with a 5-3 win in Game 6 at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

The Panthers are in the conference final for the second straight year; they swept the Hurricanes last season before losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers advanced for the second time in three seasons. They were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in 2022.

The Rangers (55-23-4), the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division, will have home-ice advantage against the Panthers (52-24-6), the No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Division.

"It's playoff hockey in New York. It's a dream," Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk said. "MSG, on the road is my favorite rink to play in just because of the history and everything that has to do with the city of New York. It's a great city. They love their sports. It's going to be such a great atmosphere. I mean, conference finals at MSG, that's just so cool. We're excited to start that on Wednesday. Just, hopefully, the hotel doesn't pull the fire alarm on us." 

Tkachuk leads the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists), and Aleksander Barkov has 13 points (five goals, eight assists). Carter Verhaeghe has 11 points (six goals, five assists), and Sam Reinhart, who had 57 goals in the regular season, has five goals and nine points. Sergei Bobrovsky has started every playoff game for the Panthers, going 8-3 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

The Panthers were 2-0-1 against the Rangers in the regular season, winning 4-3 in Florida on Dec. 29 and 4-2 in New York on March 4. They lost 4-3 in a shootout on the road on March 23. Florida was led by Reinhart’s four goals and five points. Verhaeghe had two goals and three assists, Barkov had five assists and Tkachuk had four points (one goal, three assists). Bobrovsky started all three games and had a 2.59 GAA and .919 save percentage.

"I haven't really thought about that yet, but it's going to be another fun series, another hard series," Barkov said Friday. "So, right now, we want to enjoy this one for a little bit and then get back at it tomorrow."

Mika Zibanejad (three goals, 11 assists) and Vincent Trocheck (six goals, eight assists) each have 14 points to lead the Rangers in the playoffs. Artemi Panarin has 11 (four goals, seven assists), and Chris Kreider (seven goals, three assists) and Alexis Lafrenière (four goals, six assists) each have 10. Igor Shesterkin has played all 10 games for New York, going 8-2-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

"Any series is going to be tough and we're trying to take it a game at a time,” Zibanejad said Thursday. “Right now, just get some rest and we'll see whoever we play, and we'll start preparing."

The Rangers went 1-2-0 against the Panthers in the regular season. Panarin had four points (three goals, one assist), Trocheck had four assists and Will Cuylle scored two goals. Shesterkin was 1-1-0 with a 2.91 GAA and .898 save percentage. Backup Jonathan Quick allowed four goals on 33 shots in his only start, the 4-3 loss.

"I don't know the schedule, what's going to happen here and when we'll be called to the table again for Game 1,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said on Thursday. “It's exciting and I think everybody is fired up about that. But I think we've been fortunate with the way that the season ended and the way that the first round ended, there was a little bit of rest and almost like a mini training camp to try to get ready for the next opponent.

“It has worked really well. I think we'll have a few days. I think we'll be afforded some of that again, which is nice, and then we'll be ready. When they tell us it's time to go, we'll be ready to go."

The Rangers and Panthers have played once in the playoffs, the 1997 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, won by New York in five games.

"It's a really good team, a really good, balanced team," Bobrovsky said. "It's going to be a fun challenge."

The Rangers last advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, a five-game loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen and staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report

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