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Florida Panthers have eyes on the Cup after clinching playoff spot



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Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Lomberg celebrate the Florida Panthers’ victory with goaltender Spencer Knight on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo. Knight was the goaltender for Florida’s postseason-clinching win last season as well. — AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

The Florida Panthers did not just beat the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, but they also punched their ticket to a third consecutive trip to the postseason.

It marks the first time in franchise history the Panthers will be in the postseason three straight seasons.

“It’s great,” Sasha Barkov said after the 5-3 win over the Sabres. “Thinking back to the beginning of my career, we didn’t make the playoffs a lot.

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“This is where everyone wants to be, everyone wants to make the playoffs. You know how hard it is to make the playoffs and you see guys working hard for it.”

In a season that could have been derailed after coach Joel Quenneville resigned under pressure for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault scandal.

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