With NHL pausing the regular 2019-20 season on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League’s 31 teams.
Today, a snapshot of the Florida Panthers at the break:
Disk: 35-26-8, 78 points
Playoff position: Three points behind Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division; three points behind Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild card in the Stanley Cup playoffs of the Eastern Conference
After losing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season, the Panthers believed they had significantly strengthened their chances of qualifying for the post-season from 2015-16 by hiring coach Joel Quenneville and signing the goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky.
Quenneville, hired on April 8, 2019, won the Stanley Cup three times as a Chicago Blackhawks coach (2010, 2013, 2015) and entered the season with 890 wins, dragging only Scotty Bowman (1,244) for most in history of the NHL.
Bobrovsky, who accepted a seven-year contract with Florida on July 1, 2019, left Columbus as the all-time leader in victories (213) and shutouts (33), winning the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper of the NHL, on two occasions (2012-13, 2016-17).
More coverage for snapshots of the panther season: Awards | Fantasy honors | Memorable moments
The Panthers also brought a free agent defender Anton Stralman (three years) and later Brett Connolly (four years) e Noel Acciari (three years).
It took some time, but Florida started to find its rhythm in January. The Panthers won six in a row leading to the All-Star break, winning a 4-3 win against the Blackhawks on January 22nd in Quenneville’s first game at United Center. Florida was 28-16-5 after the win, one point behind Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic division.
But the Panthers struggled after the All-Star break and went 6-9-3 in the last 18 games before the break, leaving them out of the playoffs. From February 6 to March 7, in eight games, Florida did not win at home (0-6-2), the longest skate in its history.
Bobrovsky also struggled; is 23-19-6 with an average of 3.23 goals against the average and a saving percentage of 0.900. It is the highest GAA of his NHL career.
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Noel Acciari: He had a hat-trick in consecutive games (16 and 20 December) and he paused with 20 goals; the unsigned striker had six games in 72 games with the Boston Bruins last season. His 20 goals and 27 points are the top of the NHL career.
Video: TOR @ FLA: Acciari’s shots go beyond Andersen
Panthers 2, St. Louis Blues 1, March 9: Connolly broke a tie at 4:29 in the third period, and the Panthers moved to a point in third place in the Atlantic Division and the second Eastern Conference wild card with a win at the Enterprise Center. Chris Driedger he made 26 saves in his third consecutive start.
Video: Connolly, Driedger help the Panthers to the edge of the blues
The most addicting game
Panthers 5, Boston Bruins 4 (SO), November 12th: Florida spent 4-0 entering the third period at TD Garden, but recovered with four consecutive goals (Aaron Ekblad, Frank Vatrano, Mike Hoffman is Keith Yandle), with Yandle linking the game with 1:39 remaining. Hoffman scored the decisive goal in the shooting.
Video: FLA @ BOS: the panthers cancel the 4-0 deficit, they win in the SO