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Rapid Fire: Happy For Fans And Finally For Weiss

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 shares his five thoughts on the last day of the regular season.

1. Third Time's The Charm: After two chances to win their first division title, the Panthers try again to get it done Saturday at home against Carolina. Goals allowed has been the issue the last two games. The Cats have scored six goals which should be enough to earn at least a point. Better goaltending will be needed in the finale.

2. Happy For Fans: Panthers fans, you've stuck by this team through the down years and you should really enjoy this ride. I know I am. The tough times make this playoff season that much sweeter. It will be a great atmosphere in the arena the rest of the way. There is nothin like Stanley Cup playoff hockey anywhere in sports. The intensity and excitement can not be matched. Hoping the Panthers start at home next week!

3. Career Years: So many new faces have contributed to this successful season. Tomas Fleischmann will play every game and set career highs in goals and points. What a great story considering not long ago he was told by doctors he may never play again due to blood clot issues. Sean Bergenheim set a personal record with 17 goals, while Brian Campbell will play all 82 games and have his second best offensive season.  He also has set the Panthers record for most assists by a defenseman, passing Robert Svehla's 49 back in the 1995-96 season. Kris Versteeg has had his best goal-scoring season with 23 and was a major factor in the first part of the season leading the Panthers top line. It was that good start that gave the team the cushion that allowed it to reach the playoffs despite struggling down the stretch.

4. Finally For Weiss: Have to feel good for 10-year veteran Stephen Weiss as he will play his first playoff game next week. He has been through numerous teammates, coaches and General Managers in Florida but always comes to the rink and gives all he has. Personally I feel great for Weiss.

5. Devils Or Rangers: To me it's an advantage to play New Jersey for a number of reasons. Both are strong teams but the Rangers have 109 points! They have been so strong all season. Not taking anything at all away from the Devils who had a solid season as well but the matchup with New Jersey would start in South Florida. It would mean the Panthers have home ice advantage which would be big. After 12 years out of the playoffs, it would be great to start at home with all the energy from the home fans.

Author: Steve Goldstein |

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