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Florida Panthers thankful for fast start, each other

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Florida panthers thankful
Aaron Ekblad is surrounded by his Florida Panthers teammates before taking the ice Wednesday night. Ekblad’s overtime goal led Florida to a 2-1 win over the Flyers making the Panthers 11-0 at home to start this season tying an NHL record. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers have a lot to be thankful for as the team is in the midst of their best start in franchise history.

They seem to know it, too.

Although players often mention that playoff spots are not won in the first few months of the season, when it comes to the NHL, if you are holding a postseason position by Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to be there come spring.

The Panthers are hoping that trend continues this year as their start has them all but assured a playoff spot less than two months into the 2021-22 campaign.

“We are gelling real good, this is a great group of guys,” Joe Thornton said Thursday morning, a day after Florida beat Philadelphia 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Aaron Ekblad. “The boys are playing great right now.”

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Said Andrew Brunette: “I am thankful for the effort this group has put together. It has been a turbulent little start here for us and to keep our focus. I was talking to my assistants the other day, and there hasn’t been a game where we haven’t brought anything but an A-plus effort. That’s a fun group to be around. You don’t see that everyday.”

In past years, slow starts by the Panthers put them in a hole too deep to dig out.

Not this one.

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