The Florida Panthers won’t make the playoffs this season, but in the past week they have been making sure they don’t make it easy for their opponents to get in either. The Panthers won three straight games (one in overtime, two in shootouts) before losing to the Washington Capitals by a 4-3 score on Saturday. With young goaltender Jacob Markstrom finally stepping up, the Panthers are keeping games close. Their offense has also suddenly come alive, scoring at least three goals in each of their last four games. The Panthers also have at least one power play goal in each of their last four games, while going 6-for-13 with the man-advantage.
Tomas Kopecky has been finding the back of the net more frequently, with three goals in the last two games (one on the power play). The Panthers offense has also gotten power play goals from Peter Mueller, Greg Rallo (first goal of his career), Shawn Matthias, Tomas Fleischmann and Jonathan Huberdeau. While the team could have easily packed it in the rest of the season, they seem to be playing with a fire that could have served them well earlier in the year.
For all of the positives of their power play lately, the other end of the special teams equation is incredibly disappointing. The Panthers rank 30th in the league in penalty kill percentage, and allowed three power play goals to the Capitals on Saturday (two to Alex Ovechkin). As they approach the summer, they have at least a few positives to focus on, and a lot of things to start fixing.