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FHN TODAY: Odd Playoff ‘Race’ for Florida Panthers

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Florida panthers

The Florida Panthers did not gain any ground in the standings on Saturday after losing to Nashville.

But they also did not lose much in a playoff race no one really seems to want.

Well, Buffalo and Detroit seem to want it.

There are about six teams ‘fighting’ it out for two wild card spots as the six divisional spots are all spoken for.

Florida has to be kicking itself for squandering some good opportunities afforded it of late — but the Panthers are not alone.

Not long after the Panthers lost on Saturday, the Islanders were smoked by the Bruins. Pittsburgh lost to the Devils.

On Saturday night, the Washington Capitals got throttled by Carolina at NC State.

For the late night folks, Buffalo ended up beating San Jose while the Red Wings finally lost in Seattle.

Of the teams going for the playoffs, few look like playoff teams right this moment.

Pittsburgh has lost three of four, the Islanders four of five; Washington has lost its past four while the Red Wings had their five-game winning streak snapped in Seattle. Buffalo has won its past two games following a four-game losing streak.

Florida, meanwhile, has won five of eight which is what makes Saturday’s loss in Nashville so frustrating.

With a few more points this past week, the Panthers would have put themselves in a playoff position to give them a little cushion before their schedule lightens.

The Panthers, which trails Pittsburgh and the Islanders by a point, play their next game Monday afternoon against the visiting Ducks. They are then are off until Buffalo comes to town on Friday.

By playing 59 games already, the Panthers’ schedule lightens up to the point of ridiculousness: Florida will only play five games over the course of the next two weeks.

If any of the teams around the Panthers in the standings get hot — Buffalo has played five fewer games, Detroit four — Florida can only watch.

And if they play like the did in Nashville, well, it won’t matter much anyway.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

The Florida Panthers knew they had to win their four-game road trip last week and it came to a crashing halt on Saturday afternoon with a 7-3 loss to the Preds.

The consistent inconsistency of the Panthers is what frustrates the most as this should be a playoff team but honestly, who knows what is going to happen with them.

  • The Florida Panthers lost Radko Gudas to what looked like a wrist or hand injury early in the second period. We may know more about his status after practice this afternoon.
  • For the second consecutive game, the Panthers were without Sam Bennett — and also did not have Givani Smith on Saturday.
  • Nick Cousins scored the Panthers’ first goal on Saturday as he celebrated his return to Nashville by playing in his 500th NHL game.
  • Postgame video from Saturday as Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk and Ryan Lomberg. You can click the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

The Washington Capitals still hold onto the final wild card spot despite losing again on Saturday night in Raleigh.

Hey, at least they looked good coming to the stadium.

  • With the Detroit Red Wings back in this thing, it looks like Tyler Bertuzzi is off the market.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins are locked out of one of the top three spots in the Metro so one of the two wild card spots will have to do. They don’t seem all that interested in taking control of one, either, losing to the Devils on Saturday.
  • How about the New York Islanders? They got whupped on by the Boston Bruins.
  • With the Philadelphia Flyers apparently out of it, James van Riemsdyk apparently has drawn interest from four teams before the NHL Trade Deadline.
  • With two first-round picks, the Montreal Canadiens like seeing the Panthers lose — and help out their own cause by losing as well.

 

PANTHERS ON DECK

ANAHEIM DUCKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Monday, 1 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; NHL Network
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Season Series (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Ducks 3 (Nov. 6)
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 20-14-2, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Buffalo at Florida, Friday, 7 p.m.

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