|Center Stephen Weiss watches Tomas Fleischmann's shot cross the line for one of the Panthers two goals in a 2-1 victory at Bell Centre on Oct. 24th (Getty Images)
The throng of media following the morning skate at the Bell Centre was all on the Panthers and making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years and while the team is excited about holding their fates in their own hands, they're not ready to comfortably talk about the second season. The Panthers, currently with 87 points, are up three points in the division race with seven games left on the docket.
"Well seven games left. That equals a playoff series so we still have some work to do," said head coach Kevin Dineen. "All year long we've really kept things as a short term focus and we really haven't looked too far ahead."
With another big two points on the table, Dineen had his focus on the last time the Panthers were in Montreal. It was a gutsy 2-1 win at the end of October. The road trip which also included a last second loss to Ottawa and then another big win in Buffalo helped start a six-game point streak to put the team on the right path.
"We came in here earlier in the year. We had a good solid game, very emotional game. Then we went into Ottawa, lost a real tough one in the last couple of seconds," said Dineen. "We just felt like that really wasn't our defining moment on either side."
Bouncing back from the Ottawa loss and having strung together a good season to date does have the team certainly excited to play the final seven games. Florida looks to end a three-game losing streak with a victory against the Habs.
"There's been a little bit of resilency to our team all year and now that we're down to those final strokes, it's exciting," said Dineen. "I think our guys are really enthused about this last stretch. We've got a tough little swing on the road but certainly an exciting time to be a Florida Panther player and fan."