Panthers’ playoff hopes take massive blow vs. Lightning

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The Florida Panthers have been treading water lately, but that’s not nearly good enough given their situation. After suffering a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay tonight, Florida will need a lot of help in order to advance to the playoffs.

Florida was behind 2-0 going into the second period, but the Panthers rallied back with goals from Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Pirri, and Jonathan Huberdeau all within the span of two minutes.

As impressive as that stretch was though, it wasn’t enough. The Panthers outshot the Lightning 14-8 in the third frame, but Tampa Bay was the only team to find the back of the net in that period. Ryan Callahan scored the game-winner with 2:28 remaining to prevent Florida from getting even a mercy point.

The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators were both idle tonight, so the Florida Panthers remain four and five points back respectively. However, they have now played in one more game than Ottawa. That combined with the Panthers big deficit when it comes to the tiebreaker ROW makes it hard to envision a Panthers’ comeback. That being said, Florida will have an opportunity to spark a hot streak against the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

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