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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 ET / 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 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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