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Florida is gaining a place in the playoffs and starting to think bigger

MIAMI (AP) – It was almost a spring ritual for Jon Onathan Huberdo. Another season of the Florida Panthers ends without a place in the playoffs, և the rumors immediately start about how it will be different next year.

Next year, finally, may be here.

For the seventh time in its 27-season history, the Panthers have reached the Stanley Cup play-offs. The 7-4 victory in Nashville on Tuesday night was the official victory, although the tournament schedule for weeks made it clear that the post-season would be the future of Florida.

“We’ve been through a lot,” said Hubberdo, winning a place in the Florida playoffs only in the second instance. every other route is officially over based on the result of another competition. “I’ve been here for nine years, it’s just a fun year. When you win, it makes it more fun. “Every boy in the room knows when to have fun, we know when to get serious.”

Hubberdo called it his second playoff run. Technically, it will be the third time after the season. Florida in last summer’s qualifying round 3: They lost to the New Yorkers by 1 point when the NHL resumed the game during the epidemic.

But his view is also correct. And if the playoff’s gauge, which remains largely unclear, is what the Panthers expect, it will be an off-season hockey rink at the team in South Florida, only for the second time in Hubberdo’s career, only for the third time in 20 years. ,

“We have a lot of fans who have been loyal to us, they did not have much to enjoy,” said Hubberdo. “Now it will be more fun this year.”

In any case, it could be.

Florida’s post-season history goes like this: Direction to the Stanley Cup Final 1996 The Panthers have won seven league play-off games since 1997; The rest of the NHL has won at least 10 times more than in that period. Since 1997, Detroit (135), Pittsburgh (122), San Jose (108), Colorado (102) all top 100, and Philadelphia և Dallas – 99.

But this year just seems different to the Panthers, right from the start. With just one win in their last five games, the Panthers will be confident that they will place the best percentage of winners in the regular season in the history of privileges. Alexander Barkov should be in the Hart Trophy conversation. Stan oel Quenville, as coach as a three-time winner of the Stanley Cup, deserves a lot of attention for being the best coach.

“Our goal was to reach the playoffs,” said Quenville. “It is our goal at the beginning of the year. We want to be a playoff team, we want to finish as high as possible, and then we will fix it when you go out next season. But it was a fun year for us to make some progress, to be consistent in many ways. And after entering the next season, it is a completely different animal. “

He does not mean 2021-22 when he talks about “next season”. He means the second season. The post-season. The place where Florida is not usually.

Few have chosen Florida to enter the season this season, և they will probably not be enough again this season. Quenville said he did not mind if that was the case, a role the Panthers embraced throughout the year.

“It was a lot of fun,” Barkov said. “And it will be more fun.”

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