The Florida Panthers enjoyed a memorable night when they opened the 2013 NHL season. They watched the unveiling of their 2012 Southeast Division championship banner at BB&T Center, then recorded a convincing 5-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to goals by prized rookie Jonathan Huberdeau and soon-to-be 40-year-old Alex Kovalev.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, their home finale was more representative of their season. With an undermanned lineup, and with Kovalev now retired, the Panthers suffered a 4-0 shutout loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The loss assured the Panthers of finishing with the worst record in the NHL even before they closed the season with a 5-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday.
''That stinks, when you're at the bottom of the pile,'' Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''There's a lot of hockey teams and you're always looking to try to reinforce some positives for your team but that is the brutal reality of our situation and it's somet...