Wednesday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Cats lose a little more ground to the Bolts and Bears

A frustrating night of scoreboard watching last night for Florida Panthers fans, as the worst possible outcome in the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning came to pass, with the game going to overtime.

Thanks to a "Monster" performance from backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson and Brad Marchand's 34th goal, the Bruins prevailed by a 1-0 count, leaving the idle Cats two points behind both its Atlantic Division rivals.

The good news is our boys are due for a turnaround and hold a game in hand on the Bolts and two on the B's, so a win over Ottawa on Thursday night (coupled with a Boston loss to Carolina in regulation) would forge a three-way tie atop the division, with Tampa Bay holding the tiebreaker advantage.

In a piece of good news, the Detroit Red Wings were soundly beaten by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Red Wings, who have now dropped three straight, seem to have little interest in taking advantage of Florida's recent slide, leaving the Panthers a comfy six-point cushion in regards to the guaranteed playoff spot third place provides.

The Senators will come into Sunrise losers of two in a row, but a decent 5-3-2 over their last ten, showing they haven't quite given up on trying to find that magic that got them into the postseason last year. Injured goalie Craig Anderson didn't dress in Ottawa's loss to Carolina last night, but he could be back on Thursday night. Anderson has a long history of giving his former team trouble.

So what say you Panther fans? Do the final 44 minutes of Monday night's game give you hope that the Cats are ready to get back in the win column or will they continue to scuffle, giving us a serious case of playoff indigestion as we watch the rest of the pack continue to close in?

with 16 games left to go, I think the Panthers will:

Win the division - Yay! A new banner31
Finish in second place - Home ice!44
Hang on to third place32
Claim a wild card spot16
Miss the playoffs7