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Fun While it Lasted ... Buffalo Sabres @ Florida Panthers Monday ... Tomas Vokoun, Kamil Kreps IN ... Ville Peltonen Probably OUT

PlayoffsThe Florida Panthers talking playoffs?


Well, not as much today. The Panthers spent less than 24 hours in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference after winning in Tampa on Saturday night. Florida is back in ninth right now after Pittsburgh beat the Rangers Sunday afternoon at the Igloo.

Hey, there's plenty of time left.

The Panthers play Buffalo tomorrow. Florida trails the Sabres by two points, so a regulation win tomorrow would not only put Florida right back in the playoff spot, but have it tied for seventh. The Pens are off Monday.

''We have to keep our foot on the gas here,'' Pete DeBoer said Sunday morning. ''We have four important points left on the board. We took a snapshot of the four games after our break and we had Tampa below us, Philadelphia and Buffalo above us and a Dallas team that seems to be turning things around.

''We have some games in hand on some people and wanted some separation from some teams in the standings and hopefully give us some breathing room at the All-Star break.

''We're in a playoff spot today, but the key for our group is to not look back. I think you get above that line for the first time and you want to stay there. You don't want to drop back down. This is going to be a battle right through April. We're not going to have the luxury to have an easy game or easy week.''

On guys being excited about being there:

''I hope they are, I do sense there is some excitement there and they feel good about themselves. And they should. They've worked awful hard to get to where we are right now. We have to remember there is a lot of work to be done. The league jumps to another level here in the final 30-40 games. The desperation level jumps up.''

-- Ville Peltonen's injured right knee was to be looked at today, don't have an update. No word on if the league plans on suspending Tampa's Evgeny Artyukhin will be suspended after his knee-on-knee hit on Peltonen last night. DeBoer stuck with his postgame comments that it was a dirty hit.

''I thought it was a dirty hit,'' he said. ''I'm hopeful the league will deal with it and I'm sure they will. It's in their hands to do. It's a dangerous play. You can end someone's career like that.''

DeBoer says Ville is doubtful for tomorrow. Will have an update from the morning skate tomorrow.

-- Kamil Kreps will be back in the lineup Monday.   

-- Tomas Vokoun back in after he shut the door on the Lightning after replacing Craig Anderson to start the second period. ''He was terrific,'' DeBoer said. ''He was the difference.''

-- Pete says he spoke to Andy about the quick hook, and gave his backup goalie a vote of confidence. The look on Andy's face on the bench was one of a guy who looks like he's lost some of that confidence. Andy gave up three goals on 11 shots against the Lightning in that first period.

''I have met with him, had a meeting with him this morning. For me it's all about him keeping his edge. He needs to take advantage of his opportunities. He knows he's a good goaltender and we know what he's capable of. When he gets the opportunity he just has to do it.''