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2011 NHL Draft

Rapid Fire: The Five That Surprised

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 2:00 PM / Rapid Fire
By Bill Lindsay  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Rapid Fire: The Five That Surprised
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.


Bill Lindsay looks at the five teams that have surprised people and have surpassed expectations this year.

1. Nashville Predators: Playing in maybe the best division in hockey (the Central Division), the Predators continue to stay right in the mix in the West. It's amazing what they do every year. They are a contender for the Cup, and I guarantee you they were no ones pick at the start of the year. This team is legit. Barry Trotz is the only coach in the history of the Preds and maximizes his team's talents every year.

2. Florida Panthers:  All kinds of change in the summer and no one quite knew what to make of this team. A few picked the Panthers to make the playoffs but virtually no one picked them to win the division. Both are real possibilities heading into the final week of the season. Kevin Dineen got this team together quickly, and has kept them fighting strong the whole season.

3. Phoenix Coyotes: Ownership problems and they lost their star goalie from a year ago as Ilya Bryzgalov went to Philadelphia. Many thought this spelled doom for Phoenix this season. Somehow they managed to be in the thick of it in the West. Can you name five players on the Coyotes? Not easy to even think of a couple. No stars for sure, but they get the job done. Dave Tippett is one of the games best coaches.

4. Ottawa Senators: This was a supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Sens. They just rebuilt much faster than anyone thought. Everyone had this team at the bottom of the East at the start of the season. Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson have been great and Erik Karlsson has emerged as the game's best offensive defenseman. Ottawa is in the playoffs to the surprise of many.

5. St Louis Blues: They had some talent on their roster but were thought to be a borderline playoff team at best. They floundered out of the gate and it looked like the Blues might have a long year ahead of them. They fired their coach and brought in Ken Hitchcock and now they might win the President's Trophy as the best regular season team. Hitchcock is the Coach of the Year. The Blues will go down this year as one of the best defensive teams in the history of the game. No one could of predicted this from the Blues.

Author: Bill Lindsay | FloridaPanthers.com

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 61 21 15 -9 36
J. Huberdeau 58 9 24 4 33
A. Ekblad 61 9 23 6 32
J. Jokinen 60 6 25 -3 31
B. Boyes 59 10 18 6 28
J. Hayes 52 17 10 -5 27
A. Barkov 50 9 12 -4 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 61 3 17 1 20
D. Bolland 37 3 13 2 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 22 16 11 .921 2.38
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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