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Rapid Fire: The Five That Surprised

Monday, 04.2.2012 / 2:00 PM ET / 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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 51 17 21 14 38
J. Jokinen 54 11 27 12 38
J. Huberdeau 54 10 28 12 38
V. Trocheck 54 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 54 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 50 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 50 10 13 20 23
B. Campbell 54 5 17 20 22
N. Bjugstad 39 9 10 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .928 2.17
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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