Tuesday was a very good night for those checking the scoreboard as the Florida Panthers and their chances to make the playoffs got a little bit of a boost.
Of the five games which have some sort of impact on the Panthers and the wild card race, all five went Florida’s way.
According to the latest odds on MoneyPuck.com, Florida has a 49.2 percent chance of making it — just about tied with the New York Islanders who hold a three point lead for the final wild card spot.
And, now, most of the league has caught up to the Panthers as far as games played goes.
Florida still finds itself five points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins (who lost to the Montreal Canadiens at home) and three behind the Islanders (who lost in Los Angeles) but the Penguins no longer have a handful of games in hand.
The Panthers do have two games in hand on the Islanders, however.
None of this does the Panthers any good, of course, if they do not continue to play well and add points on their side of the ledger.
Florida has points in its past four games (3-0-1) with two big home games left on this homestand (Montreal on Thursday and New Jersey on Saturday) before they head back on the road for a quick trip.
But at least now the playoff road is not as daunting as it was a few weeks ago when everyone, it seemed, had played three fewer games and were racking up points left and right.
Florida is three points back with 15 games remaining.
The math is simple: Just win and they’ll get in.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Florida Panthers have not called upon Alex Lyon in his second stint with the team, but after the way he played the last time, they are confident they can win games with him in net.
Lyon says he is staying ready just in case the Panthers need him.
- With the rough-and-tumble season he has had, Gus Forsling could probably use some rest before the Canadiens are here tomorrow night. FHN sits down with Forsling and talks about his season and how he sliced open that finger in the first place.
- In another FHN exclusive, Ryan Lomberg talks about finding more opportunity and responsibility with the Panthers as he has certainly found himself a home in South Florida with the Panthers.
- Zach Andrews spoke with FHN on Saturday about his exciting day filling in for the Blackhawks as the tax accountant from Coral Springs was the Chicago EBUG.
- Video from Paul Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk and Marc Staal following Saturday’s OT loss to the Jets 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.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
But the Canadiens found a way to win this one and help out their pals from South Florida. The Panthers likely are not going to catch the Penguins, but five points back is certainly better than seven.
Montreal is here on Thursday night.
- The New York Islanders failed to pick up any ground on the Panthers as they lose to the Los Angeles Kings.
- The Detroit Red Wings played a nice game in Nashville — but still lost.
- Without Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals did not have enough against the Rangers.
- With the news that Arrturi Lehkonen is out, the Colorado Avalanche now have to find someone to fill his role in the top six.
- Uh-oh. The Boston Bruins have lost a couple of games here. Everyone panic.
- The Philadelphia Flyers lost again but they moved up in the lottery standings so, that’s nice.
- The Calgary Flames lose in the desert.
PANTHERS ON DECK
MONTREAL CANADIENS 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 3-1
- This season (Florida leads 2-0): Panthers 7, Canadiens 2 (Dec. 29); Panthers 6, Canadiens 2 (Jan. 19)
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 53-38-11, 6 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: New Jersey Devils at Florida, Saturday, 5 p.m.