Originally posted on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 4/10/12

The long playoff drought in Florida is over as the Panthers made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade this year by winning the Southeast Division. I'm very happy for them and their fans but one thing to keep in mind is that they won an awful division and are probably the weakest team in the playoffs. Their goal differential is among the worst in NHL history for a division winner and over half of their points were accumulated in one goal games, 18 of which coming in overtime and shootout losses.

Does this mean that they are destined for a first round exit? Teams that earn a lot of their points in close games genreally don't do well in the playoffs so it's easy to see why people think this is a good draw for the Devils but I don't think this is a complete mismatch. The Devils have also been involved in a lot of one-goal games and have the second highest winning percentage in the league in that category. New Jersey also has 12 shootout victories so I think it's unfair to discount Florida soley because of this as the Devils have clearly gotten a bit lucky this season too.

That being said, New Jersey plays in a tougher divison and plays more difficult opponents so I think they deserve some slack but I still think that Florida will not completely lie down for them in this series. Does this mean I think they can win the series? You'll find that out after the jump.

 

A

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