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News

Closing Out The Final Week

Kicking off final week of regular season with game against Detroit, Panthers look to make it a good final seven days.

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 4:56 PM / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Closing Out The Final Week
The Panthers and Red Wings last faced off in Detroit in November of 2009. Florida registered their third win in the Motor City in franchise history with a 2-1 overtime victory.
It's hard to think that in one week the 2011-12 season will come to a close.

One week. Four games. A combination of five points (Panthers gain compared to opponents losses) to clinch a coveted playoff spot and end a playoff drought of 12 years.

Florida hasn't made it easy on itself on this current four game road trip that ends Sunday in Detroit. After starting it off with a come-from-behind shootout victory over the Canadiens, the Panthers were within 30 seconds of taking home two points in Minnesota but instead settled for just one as the Wild completed their own comeback with an overtime victory. Then Friday night, against the league's worst team, Florida came out flat and the Blue Jackets jumped on them for a 4-1 victory.

The Panthers took the day off Saturday as they flew to Detroit and prepared for one of the West's best. Playing their fourth game in six nights, the team hopes to conserve energy in preparation for the final push.

"It's not like we're going to pass this thing over," said head coach Kevin Dineen following the most recent loss. "We know that we made mistakes and we made costly mistakes, self-inflicted mistakes.

"It's how you react to them. We need to learn, get our energy back, get a little trust in each other and I think that will take care of the tired part."

With the doldrums of the middle of the season long gone and just a week left on the docket, the Panthers still are in a good position. Florida is four points up on both Washington and Buffalo with each of the three teams having four games left (both the Capitals and Sabres play Saturday night).

"We put ourselves in a good situation," said defenseman Brian Campbell. "We have four games left here to really pour it on and everybody knows what's at stake."

The relevance of the games in competing for that playoff spot should be all that the team needs to push them through the final week.

"It's the NHL. This is where everybody dreams to be is to be in a playoff race, chasing that spot and have a good run at the Stanley Cup," said defenseman Erik Gudbranson. "As a young kid, you still feel that dream. It's something else."

"It's enjoyable to go out and play in games like this," said Dineen. "This is what we are looking forward to is playing games that matter and that are, as I've said all year, relevant this time of year...It's still going to be throttle down to the end of the season."

All of that starts against Detroit on Sunday. The Wings come in with the West's fifth best record but haven't had the greatest of March's. Detroit is 4-8-2 in the month and has dropped their last two games, 4-2 in Columbus and 4-1 at home to Nashville.

"Go out there work hard," said Campbell of the Panthers final four games. "Work hard, work smart. Things will come."

"When we're playing our game, we're as good as any team in this league," said Gudbranson. "We just need to get to that point and play at that level for the next four games and get as many points as we can."

"We know we have the right players that can go on and compete with any team in the league," said Dineen. "We'll be well tested on Sunday."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09
 
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