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Florida Panthers primed for another Stanley Cup run, CBS News Miami's Steve Goldstein

SUNRISE - If you thought last Spring was fun as the Florida Panthers won the Eastern Conference, in a few months, we could see a repeat performance. And maybe more.

The Panthers are on an outrageous run over the last few months, 18-3-2, and have won nine of their last ten games. They are also on an 11-game road winning streak, which is one short of tying the NHL record. They are the best team in hockey on the road and their special teams are amongst the best as well.

What's going right? Pretty much everything, top to bottom.

Net Lockdown
Sergei Bobrovsky is having his best Panther season and looks like his Vezina trophy-winning days in Columbus. Bobrovsky is riding a personal record eight game road winning streak and rarely gives up more than two goals in a game. Meanwhile, Anthony Stolarz has been the best road goaltender in the league this season. Calm and steady, the 30-year-old has been the perfect compliment to Bobrovsky, giving the Panthers an excellent one-two punch in goal.

Offensive Explosion
Sam Reinhart has grabbed all the headlines, and rightfully so. His next goal will give him 40, becoming just the fourth Panther ever to reach that mark in a season (Pavel Bure, Carter Verhaeghe, Matthew Tkachuk). He leads the league in power play goals and has already set the franchise record. But right there with him now are Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe. Tkachuk put up a four point game in the big win in Tampa on Saturday night. He leads the league in scoring in 2024. Verhaeghe has scored four goals in his last two games, reaching the 30-goal mark. He's the fourth Panther to ever score 30 goals in consecutive seasons (Pavel Bure, Olli Jokinen, Sam Reinhart). The key with all of these players, though, is that they are more than just offensive talents. Their defensive ability and their hard-nosed play on the puck make them all much more valuable. Along with Captain Aleksander Barkov, they set the tone for the forwards playing the way coach Paul Maurice wants them to. They put up their offensive numbers but never cheat the game to get points.

Mikkola Under The Radar
When general manager Bill Zito signed free agent defenseman Niko Mikkola last summer, not many people were talking about it. He showed promise, both with his range and size, with mostly St Louis in his young career. But as Zito has said many times in the past, he and his staff saw more. He has been outstanding, firmly entrenched in the Panthers' top four, playing 20 minutes a night. His skill set fits perfectly into what Paul Maurice wants his defenseman to do, and he has been a major factor in the Panthers having one of the best defensive teams in the league this season.

Depth Production
As if their hard-nosed style, high-end talent, and tight defensive system weren't enough, the Panthers are now getting production from their third and fourth lines. Centered by Anton Lundell and Kevin Stenlund, the bottom six are hitting the score sheet on a regular basis. It makes the Panthers nearly impossible to beat.

Road Warriors
To put it in South Florida sports' perspective, the last time the Panthers lost a road game was the day after the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 30-0. They had not yet won the Christmas Eve classic over Dallas. That's how long it has been. Thursday night in Carolina, the Panthers can tie the NHL record with their 12th consecutive road win. If they get that done, the first Saturday of March on national television, they play in Detroit and would be shooting for the record 13th that day.

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