Bigger crowds ahead for Panthers?

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The Florida Panthers’ woeful attendance numbers earned a lot of negative attention early this season. And while it’s doubtful the team’s improved play will result in sellout after sellout anytime soon at BB&T Center, bigger crowds are reportedly ahead.

From the Miami Herald:

The Panthers, who have cut out basically all free and discounted tickets, play host to the Sabres on Saturday which could bring the largest crowd of the season. Florida’s biggest crowd so far was 11,419 for the home opener against New Jersey.

A four-game homestand which starts against Pittsburgh on Dec. 22 and includes Toronto, Montreal and the New York Rangers should change things. All four games are expected to be Florida’s biggest crowds of the season.

Granted, some of those games may feature bigger crowds for reasons beyond the home side. To illustrate, here’s a picture from a Canadiens-Panthers game in 2011:

source: Getty Images

We can’t be certain, but we don’t believe those two are Sunrise natives. (For more on that, click here.)

Still, at least the Panthers are within two points of a playoff spot and, unlike the Coyotes and Hurricanes, aren’t giving their fans a great excuse to avoid buying tickets.

Bottom five teams in average attendance

New Jersey: 14,860
NY Islanders: 13,845
Arizona: 13,033
Carolina: 11,854
Florida: 8,872