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FHN Today: What a Difference a Christmas Makes for the Florida Panthers

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Florida panthers
Stanley C. Panther and Sunrise Santa engage with the crowd at FLA Live Arena and are probably enjoying their Sunday. Somewhere. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

A year ago, the Florida Panthers went into their Christmas break riding a three-game losing streak.

See, not much has changed!

Of course they have.

Those Panthers were hit so hard by Covid that they only were able to dress 16 skaters — a good chunk rushed up from Charlotte — in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings before the NHL postponed their last three games before the break.

Those Panthers came out of their time off stronger and went on a (regular season) run the franchise has never seen before.

This season’s edition of the Panthers have also lost three straight before breaking up for the holidays but that is where the similarities end.

Last year, Florida had built up enough equity — 40 points in 29 games was good for third in the Atlantic just two points out of first — that the three-game slide was merely a blip on its radar.

This losing streak is par for a very average course.

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Florida is currently eight points out of a playoff spot and its hopes for a top-3 finish in the Atlantic look bleak if not downright impossible.

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As was the case last season, the Panthers will be getting healthier coming out of the break although Aaron Ekblad’s status after Friday night’s game is not known.

We’ll see.

Just enjoy the day, however you are spending it.

Some of you are hanging with family, some are working. Some are chilling alone.

Try and enjoy it regardless of how you celebrate (or not celebrating) and try not to let the problems of a hockey team ruin your day.

These concerns are not going away.

They will still be here on Monday.

You can go back to being a grump then.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

Two Panthers who are probably enjoying their morning are Eric and Marc Staal as this is the first Christmas the two have spent as NHL teammates.

They are spending it here in Fort Lauderdale with their families as Eric appears to have found his stride with three goals and eight points this month with new responsibilities and bigger minutes due to all the injuries and illnesses.

— If you’re done watching Ralphie and want to check out some Panthers’ videos, head on over to the FHN YouTube Channel.

We still have Matthew Tkachuk’s scathing postgame remarks from Friday night as well as coach Paul Maurice and plenty more.

Check out all of our FHN videos RIGHT HERE or just click on the videos below and enjoy them whenever you want.

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

What will the Philadelphia Flyers do if Carter Hart is going to be out for a while?

— Hey, if you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins check out this poll on a variety of subjects regarding the Black and Gold.

John Carlson was released from the hospital but may be out of the Washington Capitals’ lineup when the team returns.

— With the Panthers looking like a team that won’t make the playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens are sitting pretty when it comes to winning the draft lottery in a few months.

— “Someone had to do it,” David Pastrnak said of his two goals for the Boston Bruins in their win over the Devils.

— The Christmas break comes at a good time for the beat up New York Islanders.

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
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 51-38-11, 6 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Dec. 30 at Carolina Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m.

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