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That’s A Wrap on ‘23 / ‘24 Regular Season

April 16, 2024, 6:08 PM ET [1 Comments]
Matt Ross
Florida Panthers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Alas! We have made it to the end of another Florida Panthers regular season. This one, like the past couple, was another fun ride watching a team play a good brand of hockey — though experiencing various hiccups along the way.

In appropriate fashion, the Cats will close out the year playing the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team they very well could see in the playoffs.

From Litter Box Cats:

After making a late bid to close the gap in the standings on the Cats, the Maple Leafs dropped consecutive games to the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings to fall out of contention for second place in the Atlantic Division. That means the Buds’ quest for their first title since 1967 will start on the road against either the Panthers or Bruins. With Toronto locked into third place in the Atlantic, other than Auston Matthews bid to become the NHL’s first 70-goalscorer since the 1992-93 season, they don’t have all that much to play for in their trip to the Sunshine State.”

The Cats have a crown to fight for, per Jameson Olive:

Entering a decisive Game 82, the Panthers (51-24-6, 108 points) trail the Boston Bruins (47-19-15, 109 points) by just one point for first place in the division. Since they hold the tiebreaker, they need to either overtake or finish tied with Boston to claim the crown in the Atlantic.”

This should be an awesome game. I would imagine both teams will be looking to flex their muscles ahead of the playoffs starting this weekend. Or maybe both teams go through the motions to rest? Nah, no way. This one should have a postseason atmosphere, especially with the red-hot Matthews trying for that 70-goal mark…Panthers better look to shut him down.

The Florida lines should look something like this, with big Stolarz in net:

Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Evan Rodrigues

Jonah Gadjovich – Kevin Stenlund – Nick Cousins

Gustav Forsling – Brandon Montour

Niko Mikkola – Dmitry Kulikov

Josh Mahura – Uvis Balinskis

* Ekblad will be ready to go for Game 1

Go Panthers!
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