Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – 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.