The Florida Panthers lead the Atlantic Division with a record of 35-11-5 with 75 points. That also makes for second best in the NHL. However, since the beginning of the season, the Panthers have had issues with winning on the road. Until the month of February, their record in away games was 9-6-5. In their latest road trip, they rattled off three straight wins to nab six out of a possible six points. In addition, they’ve won six of their last eight road games. This includes beating top teams such as the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes. With this, it can be said that Florida’s issues on the road are officially vanquished.
Panthers Playing Road Games Like They Are At Home
With their recent road victories, the Cats now hone a road record of 12-7-5. On the road, they’re eighth in the Eastern Conference in power-play scoring with a success rate of 18.4%. Furthermore, away from home, they are fourth in the league in goals per game with 3.46 a game. In addition, they’re 12th in the NHL in goals scored on the road with a total of 83 goals netted.
With the playoffs not too far away, the road success is just what the doctor ordered for the Panthers as they seemed to have put an end to their road struggles.
Beating Strong Opponents on the Road
As previously mentioned, they’re beating teams such as the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild on the road. That was an issue for them in years past. Last season, they lost all but one road game to Carolina. Additionally, the year before was the first time they’ve beaten the Wild on the road since 2010. This season has been completely different as they’ve won both road games against the Hurricanes this season.
Additionally, they’ve beaten the Columbus Blue Jackets in their only road game against them this season by a convincing score of 8-4. In years past, they would enter Nationwide Arena and find ways to lose regardless of how the overall team was performing. The Panthers are putting to rest bad habits that would almost derail a season for them.
Coach Andrew Brunette has come a Long Way
On Oct. 28, 2021, then Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville resigned due to his connection to the Kyle Beach incident. Interim head coach Andrew Brunette came in to fill the position. At first, he struggled to get the team to come together on the road, as they would lose an entire four-game road trip in November. In addition, they would lose all of their road games that month and only one the following month against the Arizona Coyotes.
Since then, the players have bought into “Bruno’s” scheme and have gone back to their dominant ways on the road. In January, they won seven on their ten road games and collected at least one point in eight of those games. This month, they won three of four away games. After a shaky start on the road, it’s all coming together for coach Brunette.
Can They Bring This to the Playoffs?
Their play away from home is finally something Florida has figured out, but road success is not enough for a deep playoff run. They may need to figure out their situation at home as they’ve lost their last three after going 23-3-0 at home to begin the season. With their goal-scoring alone, it’s more than enough to get to the dance. However, their defense and goaltending need to be improved as they rank 16th in the NHL with a 2.92 goals-against average (GAA) and have allowed at least four goals in their last three games.
More than likely, this will prompt general manager Bill Zito to make a move by the upcoming trade deadline, as there’s a ton of options at defense for the Panthers to choose from. With everything hopefully coming together for the Cats, there should be a magical end of the season on the horizon.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!