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Rapid Fire: Buffalo, In-Season Acquisitions And More

by Steve Goldstein / Florida Panthers
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts on a daily rotating basis. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, make a push towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.

Steve Goldstein takes his shot at the five things he's thinking about after Friday's play around the NHL.

1. Buffalo Soldiers: The Sabres had huge expectations coming into the season. A new owner, a higher payroll and fan expectations all added up to more pressure on the team. For most of the season, the Sabres struggled. So much so that star goalie Ryan Miller's name was thrown around in trade rumors. But a 9-2-3 record in their last 14 games has the Sabres back in the playoff race. Their margin for error is slim and it's a must-have game tonight against the Panthers.

2. Sweep!: The Panthers go for a four-game homestand sweep tonight. They have outscored their opponents 13-4 in the three games so far. A win also ties the franchise record for most consecutive home wins. It's been exciting to watch and super for Panther fans at home this season.

3. I'll Take Four Please: The Panthers did an outstanding job retooling the team in the offseason via trades and free agency. But one can't overlook what has been accomplished on the transaction wire once the season began. The Panthers have added John Madden, Wojtek Wolski, Jarred Smithson and Krys Barch. All serve roles the team badly needed. What did Florida give up for these four important pieces to the puzzle? Not a single NHL player. Draft picks and a couple of minor leaguers for four players who have played key roles in the team's success. And give ownership a hand as well for adding payroll without shedding any.

4. Happy Birthday???: Or maybe it's better left unsaid. Panthers assistant coach Craig Ramsay turns 61 today but I'm not sure he wants to be counting now! Just kidding. Rammer is an NHL lifer and was a great addition to the Panthers staff. He was an original coach with the franchise back in the 90's and has a major connection with tonight's opponent. Ramsay played for the Sabres and at one point played 776 straight games, the fourth longest streak in NHL history. Also, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was an assistant with Ramsay and the original Panther team.

5. J-E-T-S: Winnipeg came up with a huge win last night 3-2 against Washington. The victory, Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winner against Tomas Vokoun in the third which puts the Jets two points behind the Capitals for 8th in the East. It also keeps the Panthers three points ahead in the division race.

Author: Steve Goldstein |

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