The Florida Panthers are starting to feel the excitement of the playoffs. They continue to hold first place in the Southeast Division, which puts them at third in the East and within reach of their first playoff berth since 2000.
"I look at it as an exciting time of the year," coach Kevin Dineen told NHL.com. "We've had our opportunity to separate ourselves from the muck and now we're right in the thick of it."
The Panthers have held the division lead (non-consecutively) for most of the season, but the current Eastern Conference playoff picture complicates things for the entire division.
Since the Southeast has the least points the Panthers are in third place behind the Atlantic-leading New York Rangers and the Northeast-leading Boston Bruins. The Rangers, at first in the East, have a whopping 16-point lead over the Panthers.
The Southeast's points predicament also means that the second place Southeast team (currently the Washington Capitals) will be on the playoff bubble - beca...