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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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