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Disappointment in '13: Panthers begin with high hopes but finish with NHL's worst record

Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers began the season with lots of optimism. They end it with the worst record in the NHL.

The Panthers had high hopes for 2013 after capturing their first division title in 2012 and ending an 11-year playoff drought. But a rash of injuries, some shaky goaltending and the worst penalty killing in the league combined to derail Florida.

The team endured an early five-game losing streak and never got to the .500 mark the rest of the season as it finished last in the Eastern Conference for the second time in three seasons.

Even though the Panthers were expected to have a hard time repeating as champions in the last year of the Southeast Division, injuries gave them almost no chance.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery