Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice said he had two trains of thought when it came to tonight’s game against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes and which one he went with depended on the outcome of Wednesday’s New York Islanders game.
Plan A it is.
Maurice said the Panthers would “try and finish up the standings as far as we possibly can. We will dress our best lineup for that game.’’
Now that the Panthers need a win in their regular-season finale against the Hurricanes, it appears all hands will be on deck in Sunrise.
To get the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and jump into the Metropolitan side of the playoffs, Florida needs a win tonight in any fashion: Regulation, overtime or shootout does not matter.
All that matters is that Florida (currently at 92 points) ends up ahead of the Islanders (93).
Florida did hold the main tiebreaker over the Islanders with 36 regulation wins (RW) but that is gone as New York’s 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens gives them 36 as well.
The second tiebreaker, which is regulation and overtime wins (ROW), is held by the Islanders.
So, if Florida loses in any fashion on Thursday night, it will end up with the second tiebreaker spot and face the Boston Bruins with Game 1 potentially on Monday night at Boston Garden.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Sergei Bobrovsky has not played for the Florida Panthers since the team lost what was their fourth consecutive game in Ottawa back on March 27.
Alex Lyon had to make an emergency start in Toronto two days later after Bobrovsky was hit with a nasty bug and his performance has kept him in net — and very well could have him as Florida’s starter when the playoffs kick off.
How does Bobrovsky feel about all this? He talked about it with Florida Hockey Now on Wednesday.
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- The lastest edition of the FHN Panther Pourri Podcast is up as we all talk about the Panthers clinching the playoffs. Check it out.
- Brady Tkachuk made a huge splash in Calgary last spring cheering on older brother Matthew during the playoffs. But after what has transpired between the Senators and Panthers this season, he will not be attending his brother’s playoff games in Sunrise. Fun stuff from the Ottawa captain. Seriously.
- While Maurice would not name a starting goalie either for tonight or the playoffs, he did say Sam Bennett would be out against the Hurricanes.
- The Panthers are on a roll when it comes to signing their high-profile prospects. On Tuesday, it was Mackie Samoskevich leaving school to join the Charlotte Checkers. Wednesday, Mike Benning signed on.
- Brandon Montour is having himself a time this season as his breakout campaign has really helped the Panthers out. He probably should get more Norris talk than he is getting.
- We did not expect to be writing a ‘Florida Panthers Clinch’ story on Tuesday night but there it was. There was no way the Penguins were going to squander this gift the Islanders gave them would they? No way.
- Video from Maurice, Radko Gudas and Sasha Barkov following Wednesday’s celebratory practice 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
With the Islanders winning on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins will not make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Not only is it their own fault, they did not deserve to be in.
- Hey, the Montreal Canadiens at least put up a fight against the Isles.
- David Krejci will be available for the Boston Bruins when the playoffs start.
- The Colorado Avalanche are getting healthier before the postseason.
- Laurent Brossoit is making a strong case to be the starter for the Vegas Golden Knights.
- One consolation for the Detroit Red Wings: They could still win the draft lottery.
PANTHERS ON DECK
CAROLINA HURRICANES 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
- Last season: Florida won 3-0
- This season (Series tied 1-1): Florida 3, Carolina 2 (Nov. 9); Carolina 4, Florida 0 (Dec. 30)
- All-time regular season series: Carolina leads 70-46-10, 11 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers — First Round of Stanley Cup Playoffs, Game 1 (Time, Opponent TBD)