Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/06/12 at 01:58 AM ET
from Harvey Fialkov of the SunSentinel,
...once it soaked in that the Panthers had staggered into a playoff berth following their hard-fought 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals Thursday night at a rocking Verizon Center, the sweat-soaked players began smiling at the thought of no longer hearing about the dreaded NHL-record 10-season postseason drought.
Especially, center Stephen Weiss, the longest-tenured Panther, who after 635 NHL games will finally taste his first postseason game next Wednesday either as the third, seventh or eighth seed.
He didn’t care that the Panthers snuck in the back door because the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Sabres 2-1 to eliminate Buffalo and allow both Florida and Washington into the Stanley Cup tournament.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, just excited,’’ said Weiss, his eyes red from a combination of sweat and tears. “I couldn’t care less how it happened. We’re in. All you got to do is get in and anything can happen. If we play the way we played tonight, we’ll be all right.’’
The Panthers (92 points), who have lost eight of nine (1-3-5) can still win their first-ever Southeast Division title if they get one point against the vacation-bound Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night at BankAtlantic Center.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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