Are the Panthers the real playoff pretenders?

Published April 14, 2022 at 10:26
BY RYAN SMITHERAM
For all the talk about the Leafs being unable to make it past the first round since 2003/2004 everyone has failed to mention that the Florida Panthers have won ONE playoff series since they entered the league in 1993. That win came in the 95-96 season and for those of you that don't know, the Panthers have made the playoffs numerous times since then.

This season, Florida is the class of the Atlantic Division, holding first place with 110 points. 11 of those points however have come thanks to 3-on-3 overtime wins, something the playoffs don't have. For all the skill the Panthers have, they would rank seventh in the league and second in the Atlantic behind the Leafs if those overtime/shootout wins didn't count.

Of their 52 wins, 11 of them have come in 3-on-3, showing that their skilled players need more open ice to capitalize on their skill - another thing that the playoffs don't have. If the Leafs were in Florida's position, the hockey world would lose their minds about the amount of 3-on-3 wins the Leafs had, but everyone is awful quiet because it's Florida.

The Leafs have been called playoff pretenders because they can't get out of the first round, but are the Panthers the real pretenders given the fact they've needed extra time to get where they are in the standings? Not taking anything away from how good the Panthers are, but should the same questions that many have about the Leafs not be asked about the Panthers?


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