What, already? The Panthers return home tonight to face the New York Rangers. Florida, fresh off a dominating 5-0 win over division rival Carolina, look to continue their recent hot streak. New York will be looking to build on a win of their own, a shootout style victory over the Washington Ovechkins. But the Rangers have lost 5 straight road games, and have struggled to score all season.
I hate to keep bringing this up with so many games left, but the Panthers are now tied for the 7th seed, and play a team tonight just 3 points ahead of them. This will be the case for the next couple weeks, and is a giant opportunity for Florida to climb not just into the playoffs, but into a more desirable seed. It can start tonight against the 5th seed Rangers.
With Tomas Vokoun stopping 42 shots last night, one would think that Craig Anderson would get the start tonight, allowing T-Vo to rest. But coach DeBoer hasn't been one to stand on tradition, and is more likely to stick with the hot hand. It will take a solid defensive effort all around to frustrate the Rangers offense. In the eastern conference, only the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders have scored fewer goals then the Rangers this season.
Tonight kicks off an important 5 game homestand. The teams coming in will only get better, so it's important to maintain the confidence that has been built over the past few weeks. Florida is 6-2-0 since the All-Star break. Let's keep it going, boys! Puck drops at 7:30.
P.S. I'll be a little later then usual with my post-game, as I'll be attending another great Florida past time tonight... Jai Alai!