The Florida Panthers will ring in the New Year as the top team in the Atlantic Division after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in front of a sellout crowd at the BB&T Center on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory.
The Panthers went 11-3-0 in December, setting their record for most points in a month (22), and will have a chance to set a new franchise record for consecutive victories when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday in their first game of 2016.
"It's a lot of fun to come here, we're pretty confidence and enjoy playing together,'' said Aleksander Barkov, who scored two goals in Tuesday’s victory. “We know how to play the game, know how to win. It's a lot of fun. Of course we want to win every game and that's what we're doing right now.''
It’s no secret that the Panthers have grand aspirations for the upcoming year as the team continues to make it very clear that they believe they have what it takes to reach the playoffs for the fifth time in franchise history.
This unified New Year’s resolution, however, isn’t the only thing the Panthers hope to accomplish in 2016, as, like the rest of us, many players will also attempt to make little improvements in their lives in order to take full advantage of the clean slates they are being given.
With that spirit in mind, here’s a look at the 2016 New Year’s resolutions for a few of your favorite Panthers players:
Derek MacKenzie: “I want to help get this team to the playoffs. I think that’s kind of an obvious answer, but I think, especially as of late, that it’s set in here that this is a realistic goal for this team. I’d love nothing more than to play in the playoffs in 2016.”
Aaron Ekblad: “I want to eat less cookies.”
Dmitry Kulikov: “I don’t have a resolution. You never follow them. You usually just try to do them for the first week and then forget about them.”
Reilly Smith: “I want to spend more time with my family.”
Jonathan Huberdeau: “I want to clean my place more than once a week.”
Corban Knight: “I’m living with (Connor) Brickley and (Logan) Shaw right now, and we eat out a lot. I’d like it if we could cook a few more meals at home in the upcoming year. I have to get them on board because I don’t think they’re too happy about that idea, but I’ll see if I can will them to go grocery shopping.”
Aleksander Barkov: “I’d like to make the playoffs with this team. We’re playing really well right now and I feel we have a very good chance to make the playoffs. That’s what I want. I don’t have anything else, just hockey.”
Shawn Thornton: “I’ve never made one. You never keep them!”
Connor Brickley: “I’m going to start waking up earlier. I need to get an earlier start to the day and stop being so lazy.”
Alex Petrovic: “I’m going to save more money.”
Logan Shaw: “I’m going to try and do something every day to help somebody else.”
Erik Gudbranson: “I’m going to try and make my bed every morning for the whole year.”
Vincent Trocheck: “I’m going to try and get my family down here more.”
Brandon Pirri: “I want to be a well-rounded person in the community and at the rink. I’m going to try to always have a positive attitude because that makes things go by faster, which usually means you’re having fun.”
Quinton Howden: “I want to cook more meals. I love to cook, but when you get home from being on the road it’s easy to get lazy and just go out (to eat). I love a good home cooked meal.”