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Miami-mania: Metro area prepares for Heat, Panthers in championship series

History might beckon for the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers -- two underdog teams, playing for the championships in their respective leagues, in the same metropolitan area.

The Heat tip off the NBA Finals on Thursday in Denver, while the Panthers have to wait until Saturday for Game1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. But if both teams emerge for victorious, it will mark the first time two teams from the same city have won the NBA and NHL championships in the same season.

Both teams entered postseason as eighth-seeds

In an even more surreal coincidence, the Heat and Panthers both were among the last teams to enter the postseason.

The Heat needed to rally to defeat the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament just to grab the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, but Miami ran with it. Jimmy Butler has guided the Heat to three straight series victories and a second NBA Finals appearance in four years.

The Panthers were a wild card team in the NHL's Eastern Conference and had to eliminate the top-seeded, record-setting Boston Bruins to kick off their surprise run to the championship series.

Miami's joy is Boston's pain

Both the Heat and Panthers went on the road and upended a favored Boston team, in yet another strange commonality between the two Miami-based franchises.

The Bruins recorded an NHL-record 135 points in the regular season, but lost Game 7 in the first round at TD Garden, allowing Florida to advance. The Celtics' season ended in a Game 7 at TD Garden as well, courtesy of a 103-84 win by the visiting Heat in the conference finals.

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