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How Bad are the Florida Panthers in Shootouts? Bad. Really Bad.

KaneSOWhen the NHL instituted the shootout to end tie games following a five minute overtime, many old time fans decried the practice as nothing more than a gimmick. 

Many players and coaches around the league felt the same way. Seven years later, the shootout remains. And so do its critics. 

Only it doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The main argument for the use of shootouts was that fans tired of watching a game to its conclusion yet when it ended in a tie, there was no winner or loser. 

Except in the case of the Panthers. 

Since the advent of the shootout in 2005, if the Panthers end up in a shootout, they usually lose.

This year, the Panthers have been in five shootouts. They have just one win. In 73 shootout games since the 2005-06 season, the Panthers are a mere 25-48.

Florida's 48 shootout losses are most in the league (four more than 29th-ranked Columbus) and its winning percentage of 34 percent is also worst in the league.

The Panthers are the worst team in league history in shootouts at home winning just eight of 40 in Sunrise (all five shootouts this season have been played at home). Calgary has only won five shootouts at home, but have played in 20 fewer such games.

This season, like most, the Panthers problem is a lack of scoring in a shootout. In five contests, the Panthers have connected on just one of 14 shots.

Marcel Goc scored on Florida's second shot of its first shootout, a win against Tampa Bay during the home opener. 

In their history, the Panthers have scored just 57 shootout goals in 73 games – an average of .78 goals per shootout. That, too, is worst in the league. 

Florida's 73 shootout games are tied for eighth most all-time and with 48 losses, that means almost 50 points have been given away to someone else. By contrast, the Devils have won 49 of 75 shootouts since 2005. New Jersey has also scored on 16 of 23 shots this season.

“We’ve got to try to get extra points,'' said winger Kris Versteeg, who leads the Panthers in goals and points but has yet to connect in the shootout. 

“We’ve thrown a lot away and we’ve got to be better in the shootout. Myself, when you’re 0-for-4, you’re not contributing in that. That’s something I take pride in and I’m sure other guys do, too. You want to help the team out that way.”

() The Panthers have been atop the Southeast ThrashgirlsDivision for over a month, but now have a new team challenging them for first place. 

Winnipeg, the former Atlanta Thrashers, have rebounded from losing six of its first eight games. After beating Minnesota 2-1 on Tuesday, the Jets passed Washington and are in second place, six points behind the Panthers. Florida and Winnipeg still play each other four more times. The two meet again Jan. 21 in Sunrise. 

"We have a lot of confidence," Bryan Little told The Winnipeg Free Press. "At the start of the year that’s one of the things we struggled with, closing teams out in the third and winning that third period. We were letting teams back in the game. Now I think we’ve got it figured out how we have to play in the third period."