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Panthers were worst when scoring first

by John Kreiser
The Florida Panthers scored the game's first goal 39 times last season, but had just 18 wins to show for it.

Advantage Margin: +22

Surprisingly for a team that finished so low in the standings, the Panthers had more power plays than their opponents -- 16 more at home and six on the road.

Special Teams Goal Margin: -16
The penalty killers weren't great (79.4 percent, 23rd in the NHL), but the power play really struggled. The Panthers finished 29th at 14.2 percent and were last on the road with a 10.7 percentage, and second-worst with 16 power-play goals.

Goals by defensemen: 35
Nearly half of those goals, however, are gone with the departures of Keith Ballard in June and Jordan Leopold and Dennis Seidenberg last March. Dennis Wideman (6 goals last season, 13 each of the previous two) should take up some of the slack.

Overtime Record
Total: 8-3-10
OT: 2-3 SO: 6-10
The Panthers tied for the League lead in shootout losses -- not surprising for a team that is 20-37 all-time in the tie-breaker (7-24 at home). Florida is just 9-18 in shootouts in the past two seasons.
Times Scored First: 39 Record: 18-12-9   
The Panthers were by far the worst team in the League at turning early leads into points in the standings -- at .462, they were the only club with a sub-.500 winning percentage when scoring first.

Best 2009-10 Number: 8-4-2
Florida's record in January, the only month of the season in which the Panthers won more than they lost. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they went 8-15-4 following their best month, including 0-5-1 in February before the Olympic break.                    

Worst 2009-10 Number: 34.1
Shots allowed per game by the Panthers, who repeated as the team allowing the most shots on goal -- last season's average was actually down slightly from their League-worst 34.7 per game in 2008-09. The Panthers allowed a League-high average of 5.7 shots per game more than they took last season.

The Panthers start their season with a three-game swing through Western Canada before coming home for three games. They have three homestands of five or more games, including a seven-gamer in March -- but then are on the road for five in a row and seven of their last 10.
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