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"About Time" For Madden

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 3:25 PM ET / Panthers Insider
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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\"About Time\" For Madden
Center John Madden scores his first goal as a Panther against Boston on Thursday night in the second period.
Probably lost in the shuffle of Thursday night's dominating 6-2 victory over the Bruins to Panthers fans was a goal late in the second period. But to the Panthers coaches and players, the goal was huge.

Stealing the puck from former Panther Gregory Campbell just inside the Bruins blue line while keeping the puck in, John Madden started the play and would end it later as he flipped the puck over Tim Thomas, giving Florida a 4-1 lead.

A relieved Madden punched the glass in celebration. The Panthers center finally netted his elusive first goal with the club in his 20th game.

"It felt great. It was a big game but just to score finally," said Madden. "I had a lot of good chances previously in games leading up so it's good to get it off the back and move forward."

"Actually I told him it was about time he scored," quipped forward Stephen Weiss following the game on Madden's goal.

The players and staff could joke about how long it took Madden to score his first goal with the club, but for Madden the goal was a huge. The 38-year old, who signed with the team back on January 4th, has been in and out of the lineup as he has gotten himself back in playing shape after last playing with Minnesota in April.

"I was happy to see Mads get one there," said head coach Kevin Dineen. "I think he's put a lot of effort in to getting back into playing condition right now and that was certainly a big goal and I think there was a lot of happy teammates for him as well."

"It's awesome," said Weiss. "To see a guy like that come in and practice hard the way he's been practicing, in and out of the lineup, a guy that's done what he's done in this league.

"Great to see."

Madden was signed to bring a veteran presence as the Panthers were riddled with injuries. And now with the regular season winding down, he's looked at for his playoff success. The 38-year old has three Stanley Cup championships to his credit and appeared in ten consecutive postseasons prior to last season. He has recorded 43 points in 134 postseason games.

The center thrives on hockey down the stretch as the games mean more.

"These games are so crucial to everybody for that matter," said Madden. "It's not going to change. It doesn't matter if you're the New York Rangers at the top right now, you want to stay there so you have to consistency going or you're us or you're Buffalo climbing your way back up.

"All of the games are big. We have to keep building and looking towards playoff hockey and we have got to start now."

The second period goal will hopefully help get the Panthers fourth-line center going (346 points in 887 career games) as well as the rest of the team onto their ultimate goal: the playoffs. But as the Panthers make their push hopefully up the standings, they know they have to take it one game at a time, starting against Buffalo on Saturday.

"We're just believing in ourselves and moving forward," said Madden. "Regardless of what the rest of the league does. If we get some help here or there that's great but for the most part we're concentrating on what we can control and that's our next game."

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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