Florida Panthers NHL Playoffs

© Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Just Get In

By Zack Duarte

May 31, 2019 - 12:15 pm

The mantra of the 2019-2020 Florida Panthers is simple: Just get in.

The NHL is unlike any of the other major American professional sports in that any team truly has a shot every year to compete for a championship. All one has to do is get into the playoffs. That, however, has proved to be an arduous task for the Florida Panthers. Since the turn of the century the Panthers have made it to the playoffs only twice in nineteen seasons. 

There is no better example of how random the NHL playoffs are than what’s taken place this season in its wonderful chaos. All four division winners from the regular season were eliminated in the first round and all four wild card teams advanced to the second round. 

Perhaps there is a beacon of hope for the Panthers in watching the ascension of the St. Louis Blues, a team which occupied last place in the NHL on January 2nd and faced a daunting 25 of their final 41 games on the road. But a fourth string goalie and interim coach changed their fortunes.

Under first year head coach Joel Quenneville,  the Panthers will be led by a coach that has the second most wins in NHL history, made the playoffs 18 times with three different teams, and won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. Notorious for their slow starts to seasons and teetering on wild card berths every March and April, the Panthers needed a spark and Quenneville is their last life line before we could see another organizational shake-up. 

The St. Louis Blues, one of three teams Quenneville coached for in the past, are living proof that you’re never quite out of it in the NHL. All they had to do was just get in. 

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