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2011 NHL Draft

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 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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