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It's Official: Florida Panthers on a European Vacation ... Chicago Blackhawks vs. Florida Panthers ... Today in Sunrise, Next Season in Helsinki ... Standings, Scoreboard Watch

Eurovacation The Panthers are officially going to Europe, the NHL announcing the pairings of next season's openers on Thursday.

As you may have read somewhere before, the Panthers will be playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Helsinki, Finland. Also, the Red Wings and Blues will play in Stockholm.

This is the third straight season the NHL will open in Europe, starting when the Ducks and Kings moved their freeway series across the pond and kicked off the 2006-07 season in London.

GriswoldBlackhawks In a strange twist, the Blackhawks are in town tonight. First time since Dec. 3, 2005. They won't be back next year either as the two games in Europe will satisfy the season series. That also takes away a Chicago trip. Great.

-- Tonight's games (and the teams Florida is rooting for)

Canes @ Isles, 7: Carolina is hurting these days, but so are Isles. Florida would like a NY win, but probably won't get it.

Sabres @ Flyers, 7: Philly is up in fourth, Sabres are tied with Panthers. Go with Flyboys here. In regulation.

Canadiens @ Penguins, 7: Have a feeling the Pens are going to make a run here. Don't know why. Still, today, Panthers need a Habs loss.

Jackets @ Leafs, 7:30:  No great shakes and won't have anything to do with the east race.

Vancouver @ Sens, 7:30: Ottawa is still way back in the race. Too little, too late.

Devils @ Lightning, 7:30: Doesn't really affect the Panthers in any way.

Blackhawks @ Panthers, 7:30: Panthers are rooting for Chicago here.

Blues @ Preds, 8: No bearing on the east although it will be interesting to see if Preds bounce back from that beatdown in Motown.

Flames @ Wild, 8: Watch if you want...

Oil @ Stars, 8:30: Both teams jockeying for position in west. Should be a good one.

Thrash @ Coyotes, 9: ATL is having quite the trip west after sweeping the Freeway Series with wins in Anaheim and Los Angeles. Coyotes are hurting. Hurting. If PHX loses this one, the fire sale may just be on.

Kings @ Sharks, 10:30: Big win for the Kings last night. Sharks are struggling a bit right now, but win on Tuesday might have righted that teal-and-black ship.

-- The Standings (brought to you by The Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago)

1 NE 58 40 10 8 88 197 131 19-4-4 21-6-4 5-2-3 Won 1
2 SE 58 37 16 5 79 195 166 23-4-1 14-12-4 7-1-2 Won 3
3 ATL 58 37 18 3 77 179 145 19-10-1 18-8-2 7-3-0 Lost 1
4 ATL 55 30 16 9 69 179 161 16-7-3 14-9-6 6-4-0 Won 2
5 ATL 59 31 22 6 68 147 163 18-9-3 13-13-3 2-6-2 Won 1
6 NE 58 30 21 7 67 175 176 17-6-4 13-15-3 3-6-1 Lost 2
7 SE 57 29 20 8 66 164 155 16-7-5 13-13-3 7-3-0 Won 1
8 NE 58 30 22 6 66 172 160 16-11-2 14-11-4 5-4-1 Won 1

9 SE 58 28 25 5 61 147 171 14-13-1 14-12-4 5-5-0 Lost 1
10 ATL 58 27 25 6 60 173 178 15-12-2 12-13-4 4-4-2 Lost 2
11 NE 56 22 25 9 53 139 158 12-9-5 10-16-4 5-3-2 Lost 1
12 NE 57 21 26 10 52 172 210 10-11-6 11-15-4 4-4-2 Lost 1
13 SE 57 19 27 11 49 145 181 10-12-7 9-15-4 3-6-1 Lost 2
14 SE 58 21 32 5 47 172 204 9-17-2 12-15-3 4-6-0 Won 2
15 ATL 57 17 34 6 40 138 192 11-12-4 6-22-2 4-5-1 Lost 1




DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA Home Away L10 Streak
1 PAC 55 38 8 9 85 192 137 24-2-3 14-6-6 4-2-4 Won 1
2 CEN 58 38 12 8 84 221 170 21-4-3 17-8-5 7-2-1 Won 1
3 NW 57 33 18 6 72 181 169 20-7-4 13-11-2 4-4-2 Lost 1
4 CEN 55 32 15 8 72 186 140 15-4-5 17-11-3 7-3-0 Won 2
5 NW 57 28 21 8 64 173 166 14-11-4 14-10-4 6-2-2 Won 2
6 CEN 58 29 23 6 64 159 161 19-9-2 10-14-4 6-3-1 Won 1
7 PAC 56 28 21 7 63 169 174 16-7-4 12-14-3 7-3-0 Won 1
8 NW 57 29 24 4 62 161 175 13-11-3 16-13-1 5-4-1 Lost 1

9 PAC 59 28 26 5 61 166 170 15-13-3 13-13-2 5-5-0 Lost 2
10 NW 55 28 24 3 59 142 129 17-11-3 11-13-0 5-5-0 Lost 2
11 PAC 56 25 22 9 59 150 160 13-12-8 12-10-1 6-2-2 Won 1
12 CEN 58 27 28 3 57 140 166 16-11-1 11-17-2 6-4-0 Lost 2
13 CEN 57 24 26 7 55 163 176 15-11-4 9-15-3 5-2-3 Lost 1
14 NW 58 27 30 1 55 159 180 17-14-0 10-16-1 4-6-0 Won 2
15 PAC 58 25 28 5 55 146 178 16-12-2 9-16-3 1-9-0 Lost 3

Comments

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Actually, im rooting for canadains, as i really think pitt will be back, 25 games a long way to go.

I thought the race in the east was tight... but 5 points separate 5th from 11th???? Yikes.

HUH???
Why would we root for the Chi-boys?

Typo?

hes kidding...hes very tongue and cheek, and actually funny!

This tight playoff race is stressing me out! I need a vacation to Helsinki, Finland!

GR- may my wife and I travel with you next October and the Herald pay for our plane tix?

Aslong as we dont finnish 7th we should be good.Im very scared to play the Caps in the 1st round.I actually think they will be the Eastern Conference rep for The Cup

i am rooting for the Canadians because i am Canadian.

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