|The Panthers and Flyers will battle for the third time this season on Thursday with two huge points up for grabs (Getty Images)
Up just two points in the division race and four points on ninth place, the Panthers know that with 17 games left to play, no point lead is safe.
While the Panthers have yet to string a win streak together of more than three games, putting streaks together and thus picking up points on the teams fighting for their playoff lives can be huge, especially down the stretch.
"I think it happens every year," said head coach Kevin Dineen of the point battle and streaks. "Buffalo was thought of as out of it with about 24 games mark and now at the 18 game mark, they're right in the thick of it.
Dineen is referring to the Sabres who prior to Monday night's 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets went 6-0-1 to go from 15th in the Eastern Conference to climb within two points of the before mentioned Jets and the eighth seed. Teams like Phoenix (11-0-1 in February) and Boston (12-0-1 in November) have used big months of great play to entrench themselves in the playoff chase.
"A week or two swing can make such a huge difference," continued Dineen. "We are looking for more consistency in our effort game to game."
After splitting their two games over the past weekend at home, the Panthers hit the road for back-to-back games in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There, they'll look for more success and more points to add to their season total.
"I was happy with the way we played five-out-of-six periods this weekend and we'll be looking for an even more complete set in our next back-to-back games against the Pennsylvania group," said Dineen.