The Florida Panthers spent the past two seasons in the basement of the Southeast Division and were the league's worst team a year ago. Nearly a quarter of the way through the 2011-12 season, the Panthers are only a few points behind the league leaders.
Individual players are excelling and the team is working as one to put together wins. After a 4-1 loss in St. Louis on Thursday, defenseman Brian Campbell was third in the league with 16 assists while wing Tomas Fleischmann was in the top 10 in plus/minus. Wing Kris Versteeg is one of 14 players with at least 20 points.
Much of the newfound defensive scoring is a result of Campbell's arrival. Campbell is tied for second in scoring among defensemen and the Panthers' defense as a whole has contributed more than 50 points this season. Panthers defensemen consider Campbell the trailblazer for the increased offense from the blue line.
"We were urged in the past to get up ice," Jason Garrison told the Sun-Sentinel. "But obviously, with (...