The Toronto Maple Leafs had just recently learned their fate as a non-playoff team in the past couple of days. The Florida Panthers had known for quite some time they would not be playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Watching last night’s game you can see a team that had fallen short of expectations and packed it in and another who was playing their version of the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs limped through most of the game, falling to the Panthers 4-2. With three seconds left in the second period, Nick Bjugstad made a beautiful power move around the net to set up Brad Boyes for his 21st goal of the season to break the tie.
He wasn’t done as he scored goals 15-and 16-on the season – the most for a Panthers rookie since Michael Frolik. All together the ‘Killer-B’s’ line registered seven points (3 G, 4 A), leading the way for the Panthers.
Just because both teams are not going to be playing for the Stanley Cup, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to play for. The Panthers down the stretch have done a great job of realizing that, Toronto on the other hand packed in the game and will finish out the season with a game against the Ottawa Senators.
After going on a five game losing streak, give the Panthers some credit for answering back – winning two of their last three games both against teams who were in the playoff picture for the majority of the season.
Florida will close out their regular season with another chance to play spoiler – as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. All though they have already locked up a playoff spot, they are still fighting for playoff position, and two points against the lowly Panthers will be crucial.
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