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Islanders Take Final Playoff Spot as Florida Panthers Host Carolina

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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.

The Islanders won.

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).

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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.

Buckle up.

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.

This story is exclusive to FHN subscribers and there is not a better time than now to join up. It’s only $3.49 a month or $29.99 for an annual pass. No one covers this team better than FHN. Come on and join us.

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.

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)

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