(Sunrise) The Florida Panthers need a miracle. Again.

It’s kind of the story of their season, and it’s only logical that such a plot should surface again, this time in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Panthers had to pull off a late and spectacular push just to qualify for the playoffs as the eighth-place club in the Eastern Conference.

Then they needed three straight wins as they faced elimination to get rid of the regular-season record-breaking Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

Here is another imposing challenge awaiting the Florida team. Facing a 0-2 deficit in the Grand Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, Paul Maurice’s men will be back on their rink on Thursday night hoping to force another dramatic turnaround and return to the thick of the fight in their quest for the most prestigious trophy in hockey.

“Playing with the energy of desperation and winning a game. We approached each part of the playoffs in the same way. We just try to take (games) – as everyone says – one at a time,” said veteran Marc Staal.

“But we’ve got our backs against the wall, that’s obvious. We are trailing by two (games). But we are going home. I love our team, I love our resilience. We will go out, give our best effort, play our best game tomorrow and then we will see. »

To say the odds don’t favor the Panthers is an understatement.

— They have beaten the Golden Knights four times in 12 meetings between the two organizations. And there, they must win four of the next five meetings to lift the Stanley Cup.

“Over their last four periods against the Golden Knights, they’ve been outscored 10-2 on the scoreboard.

— Matthew Tkachuk has two more misconduct penalties (three) than points (one, one goal) since the start of the final.

— Two former Panthers players, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, have scored as many goals since the start of the series (four) as all current Panthers players combined.

— The Golden Knights haven’t suffered four losses in five games since going 1-2-2 to begin a six-game road trip that began in late January.

— Squads that started the Stanley Cup Final with two home wins have won the trophy 38 times in 41 opportunities.

But by now, the Panthers’ mania for doing the improbable is well known. In fact, it’s as if everyone expected it.

“We played three really tough series,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov said.

“The Bruins are a good example. We were falling behind, we started to play a little better, we found a way to come from behind and get out of it. It’s the same thing here. We just have to work a little harder, a little smarter and find a way to win games. »

They have done it in the past.

There was that 6-0-1 streak towards the end of the season that allowed them to hold off the Pittsburgh Penguins and get their hands on the last available playoff spot.

There were those three wins in first-round one-night games, including two overtime wins on home turf, against the Bruins, who had just amassed the most regular-season points in NHL history.

There was that win in the fourth period of overtime in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, starting a sweep with four wins by the slimmest of margins.

“In this locker room, we never give up hope,” said Ryan Lomberg, a Panthers forward.

“It’s clear that (the Golden Knights) are a good team. They came this far for a reason. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. »