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Will Jaromir Jagr return? That is going to be the biggest question Panthers fans will be asking this offseason. How good did he look with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov? Really good. That could matter to No. 68 as he mulls his futre. He's still good enough to play in the league.
They're still alive, but face a must-win game against Boston on Tuesday night and get one more crack at the Bruins after that before the season is over. They trail the wild card by four points as of this writing, but they've shown some great jump in the last few days. They won't go quietly.
The Panthers keep fighting, but are running out of time. So much would have to go right for them to make the playoffs, but they're going to at least keep it interesting. The future is bright for these Panthers.
Shockingly, Dan Ellis has helped keep the Panthers afloat in the absence of their other goaltenders. Florida rattled off three straight wins, two against teams in playoff position, and gave the Rangers everything they had on Sunday. They're not done yet.
Struck by bizarre goaltender injuries and an even more bizarre rampant stomach flu ailing the team, the Panthers were not able to take advantage when the Bruins were ailing. They're only four points back, but Boston is starting to rebound. This Panthers team has to bear down for these last 16 games.
Bringing in Jaromir Jagr was a signal from Dale Tallon to his young team that he believes they can make a push. Even if they miss the playoffs, the value the young guys will get out of playing with Jagr should be worth the price.
The Panthers have yet to take advantage of the window the Bruins opened for them with a 2-4-1 record over the last two weeks. The rest of the season is going to be quite the learning experience.
The Panthers have had a golden opportunity in front of them to gain ground on the Bruins and have responded with three straight losses. This is a young team with a lot to learn, but they're not out of this race just yet.
The Panthers still own the ninth best record in the East. It's not good enough to get them into the playoffs, but this year is an important building block to keep pushing the younger players forward.
Florida's young team is learning the hard way about the roller coaster nature of the NHL season. Just weeks ago, the Panthers looked like a possible playoff team, but they've crashed back to earth with seven losses in their last eight games.
Preseason Power Rankings
If the Panthers have any hopes of turning around their attendance woes, they may want to figure out what's ailing them over the first three games of the year. Scoring may be a real issue for this club.
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