SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers, no matter how things looked early in the first period, were not going to lose to the Montreal Canadiens. Not with their playoff hopes seemingly on the line.
While Thursday night was not a ‘must-win’ game by any means, it certainly was a ‘better-win’ game.
Montreal may have snuck out of Pittsburgh with a nice win Tuesday but the Panthers could not afford to let the Habs do the same in Sunrise.
And they did not.
Florida, by virtue of the Pittsburgh Penguins losing the Rangers and the Islanders having the night off, pulled within three points of both teams for one of the final two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Panthers have 14 games remaining and have 75 points.
They probably need 20 more points out of the 28 which are on the table to make the playoffs.
Pittsburgh has now lost two straight games and is even with Florida in games played; the Islanders have played two more games than the Panthers.
There is less than a month left in this season.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Florida Panthers set a franchise record for goals in a single period on Thursday as they put up seven on the Canadiens in the opening frame.
Florida and Montreal combined for 10 goals in the opening period as the Panthers ended up a goal shy of setting a team record for most goals in a single game.
‘We Still Want 10’ should be the new chant in Sunrise.
Great postgame stuff from Paul Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk and especially Sergei Bobrovsky.
He was pretty candid after a rough start to his night, but he was pretty funny as well. We expect Bob will have a big night tomorrow against the Debils.
- The Panthers said they could not overlook the Canadiens. They were right.
- Here is a good recap of the game in the Sun-Sentinel. Nicely written.
- Actually, here is a better one in the Miami Herald…
- Alex Lyon is back with Charlotte as he will start at least one game in Toronto before meeting the team either back in Sunrise or Sunday night in Detroit.
- Speaking of Lyon, he says he will be ready when the Panthers need him. We’re thinking that will be Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
- Video from Maurice, Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe and Aaron Ekblad following Thursday’s win is up on the FHN YouTube Channel — not to mention video from practices and morning skates.
- 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
By losing on Thursday night at the Garden, the Pittsburgh Penguins hopes to finish third in the Metro are all but done.
They will have to settle for, at best, one of the wild card spots.
- Brock Nelson has another 30-goal season as the New York Islanders forward continues to ooze confidence.
- Top Philadelphia Flyers prospect Emil Andrae is likely to sign an ELC soon, but he’ll be joining Lehigh Valley now.
- Could Sam Montembeault change the Montreal Canadiens goalie plan?
- The Boston Bruins bounce back with a win over the Jets.
- The Sens lost again as the Colorado Avalanche get a nice win in Ottawa.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- National TV: Bally Sports Florida
- 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 (Tied 1-1): Panthers 4, Devils 2 (Dec. 17); Devils 4, Panthers 2 (Dec. 21)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Devils lead 57-34-7, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at Detroit, 7 p.m.