The Florida Panthers have lost their past two games but based on what has gone on around them in the NHL playoff race, things could definitely be worse.
Not long after the Panthers lost to Toronto on Thursday, the Dallas Stars held off the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Friday night, Boone Jenner got a power play goal in overtime to lead the host Blue Jackets to a 5-4 win over the Islanders.
New York did get a point after being down 4-2 going into the third extending its lead on the Panthers to four points for the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Penguins lead the Panthers by one point for the WC2.
Florida has a game in hand on the Islanders; Pittsburgh and the Panthers each have 10 games remaining.
The Panthers try and snap their two-game slide by hosting the Rangers today at 5 p.m. while the Islanders play host to Buffalo. Pittsburgh plays host to Washington on ABC. Check your local listings to see if the game is on in your area.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers were in the national spotlight on Thursday night when Eric and Marc Staal refused to wear special Pride Night jerseys in warmups and did not join their team on the ice before the game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Staals put out a statement citing their religious beliefs with Eric facing the media postgame but declining to speak on the decision.
The Panthers seem to have put this controversy in the rearview — it will be mentioned plenty, however, as other teams hold their Pride Nights — going into tonight’s game against the Rangers.
Florida lost to the Leafs 6-2.
- With two straight losses, the Panthers know they cannot afford too many more down the stretch. They are, as mentioned above, getting some help as they work through some things. Again, could be worse.
- Prior to Friday night’s game, coach Paul Maurice talked about the team going ahead with wearing the special Pride Night jerseys in the wake of the Blackhawks cancelling their plans citing a Russian propaganda law.
- Sasha Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Fort Lauderdale got some love on this year’s NHLPA Player Poll.
- Sam Reinhart has had some different streaks this season — but is definitely on a heater right now.
- Barkov has been with the Panthers 10 years now, but he says it feels like he got here just last week. On Monday, Barkov became the all-time leading scorer in franchise history by surpassing Jonathan Huberdeau — and his teammates gave him the silent treatment.
- Video from Maurice, Tkachuk and Barkov following the loss to the Maple Leafs.
- 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
Speaking about the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby certainly knows how tough it is to make the playoffs.
Of course, he has only missed them once in his career. That was in his rookie season when the Penguins were pretty dreadful. They got better quick.
- A.J. Greer of the Boston Bruins was suspended for one game after cross-checking Mike Hoffman in the face on Thursday night.
- Hoffman was less than thrilled with the verdict.
- Ville Husso is hurt so Alex Nedeljkovic will make his first start for the Detroit Red Wings since getting beat by the Panthers back in December.
- Would more accountability earlier in the season helped the Calgary Flames?
PANTHERS ON DECK
NEW YORK RANGERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Saturday, 5 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: Rangers won 2-1
- This season (New York leads 2-0): Rangers 5, Panthers 3 (Jan. 1); Rangers 6, Panthers 2 (Jan. 23)
- All-time regular season series: Rangers lead 59-32-8, 6 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Florida at Ottawa Senators, Monday, 7 p.m.