Dropping the thin veil that I usually hide my intense fanhood behind by for a moment, I just want to say how f-ing excited I am to see the Florida Panthers playing the way they have been the last week. I kind of feeling something like this:
I’M FREAKIN PUMPED!!! I’VE BEEN DRINKING GREEN TEA ALL GOD DAMNED DAY!!!
If that is how I am feeling now, this is how I will be feeling if the Panthers sweep their back-to-back starting tonight against the Edmonton Oilers and finishing up Friday against the Calgary Flames:
The games against Edmonton and Calgary are two winnable games. The Panthers are in the midst of a four game stretch where they have beaten Anaheim (1st in NHL), outplayed the Wild (3rd in NHL), and topped Colorado and Vancouver (8th and 13th respectively). The Oilers are 29th in the league with 14 points and the Flames are 27th with 18. The Panthers currently sit between these two teams at 28th with 16 points but their record belies their recent dominance. If the Panthers can resist the urge to play down to the level of their opponents, they should be able to easily handle the last two games of their season long five game road trip.
Going against the Panthers is the fact that they are playing on tired legs. The Panthers are 3/5ths of the way through a roadie that has seen them stop in Minnesota, Colorado (on back to back nights) and Vancouver. No one expected the Panthers to be 2-1 at this point of their trip but they are, and getting there has taken a Herculean effort, one that could have excusably drained the tank for their back-to-back in God-forsaken Edmonton and Calgary.
Let’s just be irrational for a minute and talk playoffs. The Panthers are currently eight points behind the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They obviously have a lot of ground to make up but their recent strong play makes the playoff conversation only kinda-sort of-insane. If the Panthers sweep their frozen back-to-back they will have 20 points and the Panthers playoff talk will almost be legitimate.
By the way, I imagine the start of the Panthers road trip looked something like this: