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Panthers working overtime, but not seeing results

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers can make NHL history Monday night, but they want no part of it.

The Panthers will enter their home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs having lost their last three in overtime, tying a record previously done eight times.

Florida joined Nashville (2010-11) as the only teams to ever lose three straight in overtime with all three games at home.

Even more painful for the Panthers is the fact they squandered 5-3 third-period leads Tuesday against Washington and Saturday against Tampa Bay, when the Lightning tied the game with 10.4 seconds remaining in regulation.

"You don't like to go to overtime," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "You don't want to give up a goal with 10 seconds to go. You want to be better in overtime.

"Where do you want to start? There's lots of different ways to stop that. Don't give up a couple-goal lead, which we've done a couple of times. All negatives that you can keep pointing at, things that we discussed internally, and I expect better tonight."

It's not just the overtime losses that have to gnaw at the Panthers. NHL teams are 60-0-3 this season when scoring five or more goals, and Florida has two of the losses -- St. Louis lost 6-5 in a shootout against Anaheim.

"When we score five goals, we should win the game," defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "Defensively, we haven't been as strong as we need to be. We've let teams back in it. It's not a work ethic thing, it's just paying attention, awareness, whatnot. Those things have been addressed. Nobody knows better than the guys in this room it's unacceptable losing three straight like that. We're going to come out strong tonight and turn it around."

If there's any consolation for the Panthers, it's that a victory against Toronto would help them close their homestand with a respectable five points in four games.

"We're still confident," said forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who is tied for the NHL rookie lead with six goals. "We led 5-3 twice. It's not like we're losing 3-0 or 4-1, things like that. We're still confident, but we just have to find ways to win games and keep our lead at the end of a game."

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