This two week break for the florida panthers is hurting them in the standings as the others start making up ground
The Florida Panthers rode into the All-Star break as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Honing a six game winning streak and most goals per game in the league, this team was ready to tackle its next opponent after its win against Chicago. Only one problem, the team does not play until this upcoming Saturday. With that being said, this is giving teams a chance to catch up to the Cats in the standings, which potentially puts their playoff spot in jeopardy. As of right now, the Panthers currently are third in the Atlantic Division with 61 points.
Lets take a look at the teams that are close to their position.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs got off of their All-Star break on Monday when they took on Nashville. That game they won 5-2. Fast forward to Wednesday and they beat the Stars by a score of 5-3, thatâ€™s four points piled up. Because of that, they are now tied with Florida for third in the division. However, the Cats win the tie breaker due to games in hand. But Iâ€™m gonna state this again, games in hand are meaningless if you donâ€™t win them.
With their recent success, this makes their meeting on Monday way more interesting. This just might be one of Floridaâ€™s biggest games of the year.
Tampa Bay Lightning
This team also finished their break on Monday one point ahead of the Panthers for second in the Atlantic. Tampa has already started spreading the gap with three points in their last two games against Dallas and Los Angeles. In addition, they have one more game to play against Anaheim before Florida even gets a chance to play. This hurts the Cats the most as it gives them enough time to separate the gap to a very hard climb.
Now to turn our attention towards the wild card section.
Columbus BLue JAckets
This is the only team on this list that has the same break as the Panthers. However, it should be noted that they hold the first wild card spot with 62 points, one more than Florida. It should also be noted that they play the Panthers on Tuesday night in Columbus. In their last meeting, the Jackets won 4-1. If Florida wants to try to nab a wild card spot, they have to be able to overcome their loss inside Nationwide Arena and beat them.
The Hurricanes play one game on Friday, the night before Florida gets off their break, against Vegas. They currently hold the final wild card spot with 61 points, same as the Panthers. If Carolina wins, this could mean trouble if Florida does not take care of their business on Saturday.
Just like the Hurricanes, Philly restarts their season against their biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Friday. They currently sit at 60 points, one behind the wild card and two less than Florida. That one game alone could put them back in the playoff bubble, and their start before Florida could hurt the Cats.
All the Cats can do now is practice, spend time at home with their families and watch the scores. On the bright side, this rest can help the injuries of Mackenzie Weegar, who is expected to play Saturday, and Chris Driedger, who is unfortunately expected to be out longer than anticipated. The Panthers come back from their break on Saturday to play the Montreal Canadiens at 2:00. Until then, all we can do is count the days and hope the scores across the league swing in the Florida Panthers favor. Also, hereâ€™s hoping the NHL gets better and scheduling in the future.
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