So let’s see here…
That’s four road games against good teams* and four home games against good teams.
In fact, it’s unlikely that the Panthers will be favored in any of those eight games. Especially considering their record of late.
Saturday in Newark, the Panthers lost for the fifth time in six tries, falling 3-1 to the Devils despite limiting New Jersey to just 14 shots.
“We have to score some ugly ones,” said forward Brandon Pirri, per the Associated Press. “We’re an ugly team. Scoring one goal just is not good enough. It’s not going to get any easier from here.”
Florida hasn’t been all that great defensively either. And goalie Roberto Luongo, so outstanding earlier in the season, hasn’t been able to bail his teammates out, surrendering 20 goals in his last seven appearances and getting pulled twice.
The Panthers’ slide, combined with the resurgence of the Boston Bruins, has left them eight points out of a playoff spot. With such a tough schedule to start the month, that deficit could easily grow larger.
*Yes, we’re counting Dallas and Minnesota as “good teams.” The Stars are 13-6-2 in their last 21 games, and the Wild actually have goaltending now.