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The Countdown is On ... Lineup Remains the Same ... Friday: Atlanta Thrashers @ Florida Panthers

Finishline Well, the countdown has begun.

The Florida Panthers have five games left in this regular season and remain one point out of the playoffs.

Coach Pete DeBoer said today that nothing is changing in the lineup (shocking) as Florida prepares to play Atlanta on Friday night at the Billboard.

The 'lowly' Thrashers have won three straight and may have ended Buffalo's postseason bid on Wednesday. Panthers swear they are not taking the Thrash lightly. And they better not.

-- Doing a story for tomorrow's Miami Herald on the race to the finish. Spoke to a number of players about this, and they all seem to have their eyes on the prize. They aren't looking ahead; only looking at Atlanta. They can worry about the Penguins later.

-- Bad news in Tampa as Vinny Lecavalier will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes wrist surgery on Friday in Philly. Bad end to a bad season on the Bay. The three Bs. Could be a new slogan for the Bolts.

-- Looking Ahead

The Road to the Playoffs

No. 6 Carolina 91 (plays Rangers tonight)

Five remaining (four home, one away)

Playoff teams remaining*: Four

Vs. Rangers; Vs. Pittsburgh; Vs. Islanders; Vs. Buffalo; At New Jersey

No. 7 Rangers 89 (plays Carolina tonight)

Five remaining (two home, three away)

Playoff teams remaining: Five

At Carolina; At Boston; Vs. Montreal; Vs. Philadelphia; At Philadelphia

No. 8 Montreal 88 (plays Islanders tonight)

Six remaining (two home, four away)

Playoff teams remaining: Three

At Islanders; At Toronto; Vs. Ottawa; At Rangers; At Boston; Vs. Pittsburgh

No. 9 Florida 87

Five remaining (three home, two away)

Playoff teams remaining: Three

Vs. Atlanta; Vs. Pittsburgh; At Philadelphia; At Atlanta; Vs. Washington

No. 10 Buffalo 83

Six remaining (three home, three away)

Playoff teams remaining: Five

At Washington; Vs. New Jersey; Vs. Detroit; At Toronto; At Carolina; Vs. Boston

(*) -- Teams within seven points of a playoff spot.

-- Wednesday's Game (and how it affected the Panthers): Buffalo losing to Atlanta means the Sabres get one point, but need much more at this point of the deal. Sabrays four points behind Florida, five behind Montreal.

-- Thursday's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't so busy watching The Office)

Rangers @ Carolina, 7: Florida really needs a Carolina win here. Rangers lead Florida by two points. Panthers would like to keep it at two.

Canadiens @ Islanders, 7: Well, crazier things have happened on the Island.

-- The Standings (presented by Pepsi-Cola and courtesy of TSN.ca)


RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-Boston7649171010825718026-6-623-11-46-3-1Won 4
2x-Washington774723710125022528-9-219-14-57-2-1Won 2
3x-New Jersey77472649822919526-11-121-15-33-6-1Lost 6
4Philadelphia764125109224422022-12-419-13-65-5-0Lost 2
5Pittsburgh77422789224522624-13-318-14-57-1-2Won 3
6Carolina77422879122021423-13-119-15-67-1-2Won 6
7NY Rangers77402898919920824-11-416-17-56-3-1Won 1
8Montreal763927108823023024-8-715-19-34-3-3Won 1
9Florida773828118721821820-11-718-17-44-4-2Won 3
10Buffalo76373098322822022-13-315-17-64-4-2Lost 1
11Toronto773232137723327315-14-917-18-46-4-0Won 1
12Ottawa763333107620222020-12-613-21-46-4-0Lost 1
13Atlanta77333867224026417-19-216-19-47-3-0Won 3
14Tampa Bay772436176519725512-16-1112-20-63-4-3Lost 4
15NY Islanders76254295919224916-15-69-27-33-5-2Lost 2


RankTeamGPWLOTPTSGFGAHomeAwayLast 10Streak
1y-San Jose7650151111124518831-3-419-12-77-2-1Won 2
2y-Detroit764918910727922526-7-423-11-56-3-1Lost 2
3Vancouver76422599323120422-11-420-14-58-2-0Won 3
4Chicago764124119324620722-9-719-15-44-4-2Won 1
5Calgary76432769224223225-10-418-17-24-6-0Lost 1
6Columbus77402988821421225-12-215-17-66-2-2Won 1
7Anaheim77393268422422019-17-320-15-38-2-0Won 2
8Nashville77383188419721123-12-415-19-45-2-3Lost 1
9St. Louis77373198321522222-13-515-18-46-3-1Lost 1
10Minnesota77363298119618920-11-716-21-24-4-2Lost 1
11Edmonton77363298122123616-15-620-17-34-5-1Lost 2
12Dallas773433107821724219-15-515-18-53-5-2Won 1
13Los Angeles763134117319322216-15-815-19-32-6-2Lost 2
14Phoenix77333777319523521-14-312-23-45-4-1Won 2
15Colorado77314426419325018-20-013-24-22-7-1Lost 8