Four weeks of (literal) pain, measure of doubt for banged-up Panthers

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 06: Mikael Samuelsson #26 of the Florida Panthers reacts after scoring a goal during their game against the New Jersey Devils on January 6, 2012 at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Florida's last sustained period of success - three straight victories - ran from December 3rd through the 8th, involving regulation wins over San Jose (road, 5-3), Washington (home, 5-4) and Boston (road, 2-0). The following game, December 9th from Buffalo, kicked off a rather disastrous disappointing stretch of hold-on-to-the-points-lead hockey which can arguably be traced directly to an infirmary without a single bed to spare.

Whatever the cause, the Panthers are clinging to what could be a razor-thin division lead after Saturday's games are completed. How bad has it been? Click on through...

Not only does the December 9th reference represent the first loss in a month replete with them, but Florida's next game falls on January 9th, so there's the calendar connection for what that may be worth. Yes, digressing. Onward...

  • The Panthers had a 16-8-4 (36P) record before Dec. 9; it is 20-13-8 (48P) today
  • The Cats are 4-5-3-1 in the 13 games since win streak a month ago
  • Pessimists (or realists, depending upon one's view) could somewhat accurately state the club is 4-9 over the span
  • All four wins (2 REG, 1OT, 1SO) came in Sunrise
  • Of 26 available points, 12 were collected
  • With 26 goals scored, FLA is averaging 2 per game
  • With 45 goals allowed, FLA is averaging 3.46 per game
  • FLA is 7-for-47 on the power play, while allowing 11 goals on 47 TSH
  • Regarding SOG, the Cats are on the negative end of 377-363
  • FLA scored more than 3 goals once: a 5-3 win over TOR
  • Heck, they only scored 3 goals three times, going 2-1
  • Nine games finished with 2 FLA goals or less
  • 2 SHG have been allowed, 1 gained

What does all of this typing mean? Nothing beyond the sun rising Monday morning on yet another chance for redemption and legitimacy, in that case against the Canucks. Full health up and down the roster may be too much to ask at this point, but does management go forward with the team as constructed (plus callups) and simply wait it out, hoping for a lot of help in the East, while the Caps and Jets lock gunsights on Florida's back? Or is the time ripe for a bold, brash move?

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