Florida Panthers Partying Like It’s 1996

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Panthers Vs. Sharks on Dec. 3rd (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Panthers Vs. Sharks on Dec. 3rd (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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SUNRISE, Fla. ( – If you look at the calendar it says December 2011, but the Florida Panthers are playing the best hockey South Florida has seen since the mid-1990’s.

The Panthers will look to continue their winning ways Monday night when they welcome in the Washington Capitals to the Bank Atlantic Center.

The Capitals are currently in second-place in the Southeast Division, but are quickly losing view of the first place Panthers.

Florida is 14-8-4 on the season and has 32 points to lead the NHL’s Southeast Division. The team is 6-3-1 in its late ten games and has lost only twice at home this season.

With the recent success, fans are even starting to bring back a tradition not seen since the Panthers made a run at the Stanley Cup.

Fans have been tossing a few rats on the ice despite the league outlawing the rats after Florida’s 1996 Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

“I think there’s really a lot of belief in our locker room right now,” Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told the Panthers website. “Two games now, we got down a goal in the first two minutes and we readjusted from there. It was a really solid all-around effort from our special teams to our goaltending. It was a good hockey game.”

The game will also be a matchup of Florida’s former goalie, Tomas Vokoun, against his replacement, Jose Theodore.

Washington will be looking to snap a streak of very poor play as of late. The Capitals are just 3-7 in their last 10 games.

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