The Florida Panthers clinched a playoff berth Sunday, and they didn’t even have to put their equipment on.
It was Boston’s 6-4 loss to Chicago that gave Florida its first postseason spot since 2012. The Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996 — two decades ago — when they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This will be just their fifth postseason appearance since entering the league in 1993.
According to Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers still need to prove to many that they’re for real.
“There are so many doubters when it comes to our team, and that’s fine with us,” Jagr said Saturday, per the Miami Herald.
Jagr is correct that there are doubters, and not just because of the club’s history. The analytics suggest that the Panthers don’t dominate games, that they’re all the way down with the Edmonton Oilers in terms of puck possession.
But then, if the playoffs were to start today, the Panthers would face the Islanders in the first round. And the Islanders, who haven’t won a series since 1993, are hardly a perfect team themselves.
At the very least, Florida has achieved its main objective for 2015-16.