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Rapid Fire: Game of Inches, Road Trippin 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 Sunday's play around the NHL.

1. Game Of Inches: Kris Versteeg nearly gave the Panthers an extra point Friday night in the final seconds of overtime. He had a breakaway, was stopped by Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk, then poked at the puck...and slid it right across the goal line and off the post as time expired. It was excruciating to watch that sequence. Edmonton then won the shootout.

2. Not Always Pretty But...: There are only five teams with fewer home regulation losses than the Panthers. The Cats have done a super job of picking up points in South Florida but many games have ended in after-regulation losses. A 20-9-10 home record is odd looking, with so many one-goal games. But the fact is the Panthers already have 50 points on home ice with four more there for the taking. That's getting the job done, no matter how you get there.

3. Oh Theo: Jose Theodore has been phenomenal for Florida. The team has earned points in seven of the last eight games Theodore has played. He has allowed just 13 goals in the 8 games and has made some great saves. Any goalie concerns before the season have been put to bed by Theodore and Scott Clemmensen all season long.

4. Road Trippin!: This 4-game trip could decide the Panthers playoff fate. Wins are a must after dropping the last three games. The Cats are 3-0 against their first opponent, Montreal on Tuesday. After that one, it's back-to-back games against teams below them in the standings, Minnesota and Columbus. The trip wraps up on April Fools Day in Detroit. Watch them all on Fox Sports Florida. In essence, these are playoff games for the Panthers.

5. Support Please: To close out this strong season with a playoff spot, the Panthers will need some depth scoring. Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann have been the only ones scoring the past few games amongst the forwards. With seven games left, it's time for others to start chipping in on offense. Play time is over. It's close out time!

Author: Steve Goldstein |

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