Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can the Panthers Somehow Squeeze into a Playoff spot?

I don't know about you, but for me it seems like the Florida Panthers have been on a roll, winning 5 games in a row, over the last couple do I still feel like they are in the same position they were then when they had their streak of unbearable "inability to hold a lead" losses. Well, that is because they are in just as bad or worse shape than before. As of March 1, 2008, the Panthers were 28-31-8 and now they are 33-31-8 and almost in an identical position (if you don't count passing the free-falling Atlanta Thrashers) with regard to the division leading Carolina Hurricanes.

So, why the pessimism after a series of exciting Panthers wins? Because those wins are meaningless. The difference between the Panthers of March 1 and the Panthers of today is that there are fewer games left in the season to catch any form of a playoff spot. Ok, so the point is that the 5 game winning streak is unimportant unless the Panthers can win at least 8 of their remaining 10 games left (including beating the Capitals both times and the Hurricanes twice as well).

Still, I refuse to give up hope entirely on a playoff year. In my opinion the Panthers' season begins tomorrow against the New York Rangers. Of the remaining 10 games, the majority are at home and against sub-par teams like Atlanta and Tampa Bay. And because Carolina and Washington are on that schedule 4 times, I think they can still pull off the division (which in my opinion is more likely than catching the 8th playoff spot in the east because of the extra game played over the Flyers and the other teams in the way). That Carolina blown loss on Feb. 16 is still eating away at me though. That would have been a 4 point turn around and the Cats would find themselves 3 points away from a division lead. Oh well. (sigh). Now it's crunch time.

May the panthers do what they have previously not accomplished in a quite a long while - win games when they have to.

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