The Florida Panthers have been beating the teams outside the playoffs since the New Year kicked in.
Tonight in Toronto, they get another chance at a team securely holding down a postseason position.
Florida is 5-3 in 2023 but those three losses are all in regulation against teams in the playoffs: The Rangers, Dallas and Vegas.
The Panthers also have not been very good in the second-half of back-to-backs, winning just one (Anaheim) of the five they have played thus far.
To be fair, Florida has not been very good in the first game of the back-to-back, either, winning just one of those first five before beating the Sabres 4-1 on Monday afternoon.
A lot working against the Panthers tonight with a rested and ornery Maple Leafs teams waiting for them but points are needed.
Florida comes into the day four points behind Pittsburgh (which has two games in hand) for the final playoff spot.
Again, a lot of games remaining — but a strong game tonight against the Leafs could really keep this team on the right track.
Florida has won five of its past seven games, its best stretch of the season.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Carter Verhaeghe was great with Sasha Barkov, but he has been pretty darned good off the top line as Florida’s new second line (Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk) have been very good together.
— The Panthers played a very solid game Monday afternoon against the Sabres and controlled the play until Buffalo fell behind by three goals and finally got things in motion.
— Barkov and Anton Lundell may only speak in their native tongue when on the ice but they are NOT leaving Sam Reinhart out of the loop.
— With Spencer Knight expected to be pulled off IR today, Alex Lyon may be headed back to Charlotte, but he is ready whenever the Panthers need him.
— In case you missed it, one of the NHL All-Star jerseys was leaked and, as we expected, the top players in the league will rock the ‘Vice’ look when they come to town next month.
— Hear from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky and Tkachuk following Monday’s win on the FHN YouTube Channel.
Click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place and if you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Nick Foligno of the Boston Bruins got caught on a hot mic as he had a friendly conversation with an official on Monday night.
— The Washington Capitals were fed up with their game against the Islanders on Monday night when down 3-0. They rallied to win 4-3.
— As for the New York Islanders, well, they’re not feeling good after coughing up a three-goal lead.
— A “pathetic effort’’ by the Calgary Flames leads to a tough loss in Nashville.
— Pete DeBoer gets one last laugh against the Vegas Golden Knights.
— The Bruins feasted on the Philadelphia Flyers once again.
— If the Detroit Red Wings want to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, they better get things going.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
- When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Toronto leads 45-35-7, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Montreal, 7 p.m.