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2011 NHL Draft

Rapid Fire: Woe Canada and Red-Hot Prospects

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 11:30 AM ET / Rapid Fire
By Steve Goldstein  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Rapid Fire: Woe Canada and Red-Hot Prospects
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts on a daily rotating basis. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, make a push towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.


After a big win in Montreal, Steve Goldstein picks his five topics with just six games left on the Panthers' schedule.

1. Woe, Canada: The Canadiens are the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, nearly 20 years ago. Vancouver came close last year, losing Game 7 of the Finals to Boston. The Canucks have a chance to win it this season. After that, the Canadian Cup threat is virtually nonexistent. Despite adding a team this season as Atlanta moved to Winnipeg, bringing the great country's total to seven NHL franchises, odds are our neighbors to the north will be Cup-less, and for the most part, playoff-less this spring. Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary are on the outside looking in. Ottawa is trying to hold on to one of the final playoff spots in the East but won't be favored in the first round. The Canadian fans have great passion and their teams consistantly sell out, so Canada's teams' lack of success is a bit puzzling.

2. Rollin' with the Clemmer: Kevin Dineen went with Scott Clemmensen the last two Tuesdays on the road. Jackpot! After using a superb 35-save effort to beat the Flyer last week, Clemmensen was solid in a shootout win in Montreal. He is now 6-0-0 in his career against the Canadiens and helped the Panthers sweep Montreal for the first time in franchise history.

3. Closing in on the Southeast: There are still games that need to be won but the Tuesday night swing could be the key to Florida's first-ever division championship. The Cats win, combined with Washington's regulation loss has Florida five points ahead in the division. The Caps only have five games left so three Panthers wins in the final half dozen games gives tthe Cats the division crown. That number goes down if the Caps lose in regulation. Thursday, the Panthers play the Wild while Washington goes to Boston.

4. Steeger Back at it: It was encouraging to see Kris Versteeg's strong game in Montreal. He led all forwards in ice time with 22:45 and took 10 shots, five on goal. He seemed to have the swagger we've become acustomed to and Kevin Dineen rode his line, with Shawn Matthias and Wotek Wolski, throughout the night. They played a strong game and it's that type of good depth play that is so imperative this time of year.

5. Future Cats: The boatload of Panthers draft picks the past two years are getting valuable experience. First rounders Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden are in their playoffs in the junior ranks. Huberdeau's Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL may be the best in the juniors. Huberdeau continues to put up points in the postseason, totaling seven points (2-5-7) in three playoff games. His line, with Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips has totaled 29 points (12-17-29) in three games. You read that correctly, 29 POINTS IN THREE GAMES! Howden leads Moose Jaw with six points (3-3-6) in three games of the WHL playoffs. First-rounder Nick Bjugstad and third-round pick Kyle Rau are teammates at the University of Minnesota and helped the Gophers reach the NCAA Frozen Four, which will be played in Tampa later this week. Other players like Logan Shaw, Jonathan Racine and Vince Trocheck are all playing in the junior hockey postseason as well. University of Denver standout and 2009 second-rounder Drew Shore is now playing in San Antonio, as is 2010 second-round selection Alex Petrovic. The Rampage are battling to reach the AHL playoffs.

Author: Steve Goldstein | FloridaPanthers.com

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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