SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers had their playoff hopes bolstered Tuesday night with a big win over the Buffalo Sabres.
As has been the case over the past few weeks, the Pittsburgh Penguins helped out as well.
If Florida does make it to the playoffs, it will owe the Penguins a debt of gratitude.
After all, the struggles of the Penguins have really helped out the Panthers.
Florida, after losing four straight games, should have been finished.
Only this morning they wake up tied for the first wild card spot.
The Penguins have played a big role in Florida’s ascent. The Panthers have won their past four, sure; but the Penguins have opened a door many thought was going to be slammed shut.
It continued on Tuesday as the Penguins lost. Again.
On March 12, the Penguins beat the Rangers to win their seventh game in nine tries. They were about as close to a playoff lock as a team could get.
Since, they have dropped eight of 12 and now sit a point back of both the Panthers and Islanders.
The three teams battling it out for the two playoff spots have four games remaining.
We’ll see who wants it.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
You can say games down the stretch feel like playoff games, but they are not.
On Tuesday, what the Panthers and Sabres did roll out certainly felt like a postseason game.
It was a must-win for both teams and the Panthers got their must-win.
- Anthony Duclair has not been able to find the back of the net since he scored that empty net goal upon his return. He has been struggling offensively, but Duclair is doing a lot of good things for the Panthers as well.
- The boys from Panther Pourri are back as they discuss the team coming back from the dead. Check out the podcast RIGHT HERE
- The Panthers were again without Sergei Bobrovsky and Sam Bennett against the Sabres — full updates on their injury and illness right here — but they did have Alex Lyon.
- Western Michigan freshaman Ryan McAllister left the Broncos to sign with the Panthers. He will be joining the Checkers to get his pro career going.
- Speaking of the Checkers, Zac Dalpe has made a home for himself and his family as captain in Charlotte. Now, he has a new two-year contract extension with the Panthers meaning he will be around for a little bit longer.
- Video from Paul Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk, Anton Lundell, Brandon Montour and Lyon following the win against the Sabres is up on the FHN YouTube Channel.
- You can click the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place. If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The biggest game on the Florida Panthers minds outside of Sunrise on Tuesday was the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Devils.
Andrew Brunette & Co. took care of business.
- Garnet Hathaway has been a real nice addition to the Boston Bruins.
- Look who clinched a playoff spot: The Colorado Avalanche. Good for them.
- Look who did not: The Calgary Flames lose at home to the Blackhawks. Ugh.
- The Montreal Canadiens did not look good on Tuesday as Ville Husso returns and gets a shutout for the Detroit Red Wings.
- The Philadelphia Flyers have now lost their past four.
PANTHERS ON DECK
OTTAWA SENATORS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- 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
- Season Series (Tied 1-1): Panthers 5, Senators 3 (Oct. 29); Senators 5, Panthers 2 (Mar. 27)
- Last season: Florida won 3-1
- All-time regular season series: Ottawa leads 57-43-5, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Florida at Washington, Saturday, 7 p.m.