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Panthers clinch playoff berth with losses by Sabres, Penguins

Return to postseason after winning Presidents' Trophy in 2022

by @NHLdotcom

The Florida Panthers clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday.

The Panthers (42-31-8) reached the playoffs for the fourth straight season when the Buffalo Sabres lost 6-2 to the New Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Florida, which plays its regular-season finale Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, holds the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the New York Islanders.

The Panthers won the Presidents' Trophy last season for finishing with the League's best record (58-18-6). They were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.

Florida is led by Matthew Tkachuk, who has an NHL career-high 108 points (40 goals, 68 assists), Aleksander Barkov (77 points), Brandon Montour (73 points) and Carter Verhaeghe (72 points).

Alex Lyon has started the past seven games for the Panthers with Sergei Bobrovsky sick and Spencer Knight in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Lyon is 6-0-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .952 save percentage since March 29. Bobrovsky is 24-20-3 with a 3.07 GAA and .901 save percentage this season. Knight is 9-8-3 with a 3.18 GAA and .901 save percentage.

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