MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers refuse to die in the race for the Southeast Division crown. The Cats went from a three-game losing streak to winning back-to-back games and now head to Toronto looking to stay ahead of the Winnipeg Jets.
This year, the numbers are definitely on the Panthers side against the Maple Leafs, and pretty much all Canadian teams. Florida holds a 10-2-2 record against Canadian teams and overall, Florida is 11-3-2 against the Maple Leafs since February 2008.
The Panthers are also on a roll away from the friendly confines of the Bank Atlantic Center. The Cats have won their last three road games, which is one shy of the season high of four consecutive road wins in October to November.
The Cats are fighting for their proverbial playoff lives against the Maple Leafs. Florida is currently two points ahead of second-place Winnipeg and just three points ahead of the Washington Capitals in the battle for the Southeast Division crown.
Overall, the Panthers are third in the Eastern Conference with 70 points and are trying to make their first playoff appearance since 2000. The Cats are also happy with their lineup as they let the trading deadline come and go Monday without making any moves.
It was a welcome change for Panthers fans who had grown accustomed to the team selling off talent each year as the playoffs were usually just a pipe dream by this point in the season.
“We made our moves early,” general manager Dale Tallon told the Panthers’ official website Monday. “We improved our team a few days ago and we’re going to get healthier as we move on the next couple of weeks.”
For Florida, they can ill afford any slipup at this point. The NHL calendar is entering the last full-month of the regular season and with just a two point lead, the Cats could go from first to second in one game.