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2011 NHL Draft

Rapid Fire: Woe Canada and Red-Hot Prospects

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 11:30 AM / 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

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 0 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 1 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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