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Panthers upcoming five-game homestand ‘makes or breaks’ their season

Panthers Jets Hockey

Florida Panthers’ Brian Campbell (51), Shawn Matthias, second from left, Jimmy Hayes (12) and Tom Gilbert celebrate a goal by Matthias’ against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods)


The Florida Panthers have been on the outside looking in at the playoff picture all season. After going 3-1-0 on their recent road trip through Canada, they’re headed home for a five-game homestand and feeling good about themselves as they sit 10 points back of Detroit in the Atlantic Division.

As Harvey Fialkov of The Sun-Sentinel shares, the team is looking at their upcoming run of home games as critical to their hopes of getting into the playoff race.

“Getting a good road trip means nothing if you don’t have a good homestand,” Panthers forward Shawn Matthias said after practice Sunday morning. “It makes or breaks your season. We’ve had a few good weeks; now we got to take advantage of it.”

Going beyond their road trip, the Panthers have won seven of their last nine and, unsurprisingly, their wins have come in games where they’ve limited opponents to either one or two goals. With Tim Thomas out that means Jakob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen have done their part to hold things down.

If the Panthers can find a way to improve on their 7-7-3 home record, things just might get more interesting in the Atlantic.

Follow @JoeYerdonPHT