SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — It’s a mad dash to the finish line for the Panthers and tonight Florida will have to fight for two points against a Calgary team that’s in a wild card race of its own.
“You know they played last night so we have to get on them really early in the game,” said Forward Jonathan Huberdeau. “It’s a good team and every game is important and we need the 2 points.”
With just 23 games to go, the Cats are also in striking range of first place in the division and their recent run of success is coinciding with the return of Huberdeau. He’s not only finding the back of the net with 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 games, he’s creating a balanced line alongside Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov.
“Everybody’s coming back and everybody’s healthy,” he said. “It kind of helps to get through as a group together and what it was supposed to be like in the beginning of the season.”
Adding first-year Panther Jonathan Marchessault to the mix could make a world of difference as the playoffs approach. His 18 goals and 18 assists has Interim Head Coach Tom Rowe raving about his grit.
“If you’re going to be a goal scorer in this league, you’ve got to go into the hard areas where you know you’re going to get whacked,” said Rowe. “You’re probably going to get a couple of sticks in the head but if you don’t go to those areas, you’re not going to score. And he’s willing to do that.”
Even though the post season push is heating up, these Cats are staying cool and keeping things light in the tightest of races.
“Yeah I think we’re confident now, it’s just a matter of staying with our game,” said Center Vincent Trocheck. “Not worrying about the outside, just worrying about what we can control.”
“Stay serious,” said Marchessault. “But during practice, we need to have fun every time and I think that’s what we’re doing.”