It took seven coaches, seven general managers and 12 years, but the Florida Panthers are playoff-bound. Making the postseason probably feels like a first, yet the real first came on Saturday as Kevin Dineen and Dale Tallon’s squad won their first ever Southeast Division title after handling the Carolina Hurricanes a 4-1 defeat.
Ever since winning five games in a row from March 11-21, things have been awfully shabby for the Cats. Tonight’s victory marks just their second since that point, as they went 2-3-5 in the final 10 games of the season. If you want an even clearer picture of their punch-less finish, chew on this: today marks their first regulation win since they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on March 20.
The Panthers lacked much bite lately, so many will probably predict the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils to “upset” them in the first round. Most (if not all) of the numbers seem to speak in the Devils’ favor.
Right now, the Panthers could probably care less. The franchise has taken a huge step in the right direction and you never know how far they can go if things bounce the right way in the playoffs.