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Panthers Insider

Back In The Atlantic Division

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 5:29 PM
By Glenn Odebralski - FloridaPanthers.com / Panthers Insider
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Panthers Insider
Back In The Atlantic Division
Florida picks up six new Division opponents, including the Detroit Red Wings who head east from the Western Conference. (Getty Images)

The name is the same. The opponents? Not so much.

The Panthers first began playing in the NHL in the Atlantic Division and on Thursday it was announced they would be returning to the same named division. Unlike their first go around (from 1993-98) however, most of their opponents won't be the same.

In 1993, division foes consisted of the Flyers, Devils, Capitals, Rangers, Lightning and Islanders. Fast forward 20 years and the only team that remains is the cross-state rival Lightning. The other teams, who will now reside in the newly named Metropolitan Division will be replaced by the old Northeast teams (Bruins, Sabres, Canadiens, Senators and Maple Leafs) along with the Detroit Red Wings.

The Cats will face off against some of the oldest teams in the league. Four of them, in fact, are a part of the Original Six in the Bruins, Canadiens, Leafs and Wings. A challenge indeed but for head coach Kevin Dineen, the challenge is always changing no matter what division you're playing in.

"Every year it's different dynamics. You look at Montreal two years ago. You look at Toronto, struggled (for a while) and they had some real positive things happen last year and were able to turn things around in a fairly quick manner," said Dineen to the South Florida media following the release of the 2013-14 schedule. "(Detroit is) going to be very excited getting into the Eastern Conference. It's something they've been looking to do for years and years. Here they are positioned with a lot of quality hockey teams."

The way the schedule is set up, as Dineen points out, one doesn't have to go no further than the road trip to open the season to see the caliber of opponents that Florida is hit with in the opening month.

"For me, I look at the start," said Dineen. "We go Dallas, St Louis, Philadelphia. None of those teams are in our division but you know what. Dallas has gotten better this summer. St Louis who had a really quality regular season last year. Philly has done some things to get better so no matter whether you're in division or not, the road is not easy.

"That's fine. That's our expectations."

That trip, while with it's own challenges is also seen as a blessing for the Panthers bench boss.

"I love the idea of starting on the road. I just think that really the good things for our team," said Dineen. "We're under different circumstances than we were a couple of years ago but still really like the idea that you got a good break between our last exhibition game and our first regular season game. Get out on the road, spend some quality time together and come back home to finish October strong."

82 games; 30 against division opponents, including five against the Wings and reigning Eastern Conference Champion Bruins. It should make for an intense battle as eight teams are battling anywhere from three to five available playoff spots come April.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 60 39 16 5 162 133 83
2 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
3 NYR 59 37 16 6 186 145 80
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 60 26 21 13 145 169 65
10 PHI 61 26 24 11 162 178 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 59 26 29 4 155 184 56
14 TOR 60 24 31 5 167 183 53
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 61 18 38 5 114 204 41

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 60 21 15 -7 36
J. Huberdeau 57 9 24 5 33
A. Ekblad 60 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 59 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 58 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 51 17 10 -3 27
A. Barkov 49 9 12 -3 21
T. Fleischmann 51 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 60 3 17 2 20
S. Bergenheim 39 8 10 2 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 15 11 .921 2.39
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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