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Hitting The West Coast

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

It's been a pretty consistent schedule for the Panthers over the last several years: beginning of the season play mostly on the road and end of the season play mostly at home.

The Panthers play 20 games at the BankAtlantic Center in the final two and a half months of the 2012-13 season. Released today by the league, the schedule sets up nicely for Panthers fans as long as the team can continue it's success from last season.

To get there though, they'll have to go through several difficult parts of the schedule early on.

Two of those stretches come within a three week span as Florida makes two cross-country treks to play two three games in four nights stretches.

The first begins with a trip to Western Canada. Beginning on November 13, they'll be in Vancouver to take on the President's trophy winning Canucks. Two days later they'll slide over to Calgary before taking on the Oilers the following night. Edmonton, poised to make the first overall selection for the third year in a row, should be a tough young team this season. The road trip actually finishes up two days later on the 18th with a battle against Division rivals the Washington Capitals.

Florida will then have their annual "holiday feast" which will see them play the Rangers, Red Wings, Lightning, Capitals and Flyers but then it's back out west.

The Panthers will be in Anaheim on December 5 to drop the puck against the Ducks and then travel to take on the reigning Stanley Cup champs Los Angeles Kings two days later before playing their third game in four nights against the Western Conference runners up Phoenix Coyotes.

Six games, eight nights against teams they rarely face after not playing in that time zone for the majority of the year. A tough stretch indeed.

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