Tell Chicken Little to stay in the coop, the reeling Panthers aren't ready to wear their helmets outside of the rink based on a five-game snapshot.
Despite losing four straight and currently residing in the basement of the Eastern Conference, the Panthers are only three points out of the playoff picture, so two wins in the next three days against fellow Southeast Division tenants, Tampa and Winnipeg, would do wonders for team morale.
"Absolutely, a 2-3 game winning streak and we're right back in the mix of things,'' said Panthers forward Peter Mueller after a rigorous 90-minute practice session Monday morning at Saveology.com Iceplex. "There's no need to press the panic button right now but we need to get back to business and start with Tampa.''
Of course, it doesn't get any easy as the 4-1 Lightning are atop the Eastern Conference standings, and are coming off a 5-1 victory over the Flyers, the same team that handed the Panthers their most lopsided loss (7-1) since a 7-0 loss to Winnipeg last March.
"The hardest working team can beat the most skilled team in the world,'' Mueller added. "That's what we want to be known as.''
While the Panthers are tied for last in goals scored with eight, the Lightning are first with 24 goals. Their star-studded trio of Martin St Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier have a combined eight goals and 27 points. Florida's injury-riddled top line of Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg have one goal and four points.
Panthers welcome back Versteeg but still searching for team chemistry
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jan 29