Florida's road win streak propels them atop the Eastern Conference

Florida's road win streak has propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Florida Panthers v Pittsburgh Penguins
Florida Panthers v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

The Florida Panthers have etched their name into the record books. 

After performances headlined by exceptional goaltending, point production, and special teams success, the Panthers have come out victorious in eleven straight road contests, becoming the 11th team in NHL history to reach a double-digit win streak away from home ice.

The stretch is also the longest in Florida’s rather young franchise history.

The Florida Panthers have a lot going for them at this point in time

When Anthony Stolarz was called upon to man the crease at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Feb. 15, he rose to the occasion.

The Edison, NJ native stopped all 45 shots he faced, which is good for the third most in a shutout in franchise history.

Signed as a one-year depth piece in the offseason, Stolarz wasn’t expected to be atop the NHL goals-against average but there he is.

Seeing action in 17 games this season, Stolarz owns a 1.97 GAA, the best amongst active goaltenders. In his last five games of action, Florida’s backup goaltender has allowed just six goals which was good for three wins in the stretch.

Sergei Bobrovsky has been “Mr. Dependable” for the Cats as they’ve responded from a Stanley Cup Final loss into what could have been a letdown season.

With a 15 percent increase in Amerant Bank Arena’s attendance from 2023 to 2024, Bobrovsky has shined, grasping onto his best season within his lengthy 14-year career.

The 35-year-old goaltender has not lost a game since January 13, 2024, when New Jersey came into Sunrise and toppled the Panthers 4-1. He has since manned the goalposts nine times. 

The groundbreaking move of acquiring Matthew Tkachuk before the 2022-23 season has blossomed into a brilliant move from Florida General Manager Bill Zito.

Following last season, it seemed unsustainable, and creeping into the newest calendar year, Tkachuk was quiet. The Florida Panthers have been rising the standings ever since and a huge part is due to Tkachuk’s return to dominance.

He has amassed 40 points in the last 21 outings with 15 of those being goals. He has earned at least one point in 20 of the last 22 games. Tkachuk’s recent outbreak has pushed him into the top three in scoring on the Cats’ roster and second in points.

Carter Verhaeghe has produced four multi-goal games in the 2024 campaign with two of those coming in back-to-back games.

In Florida’s 4-0 victory over Buffalo and 9-2 domination of rival Tampa Bay, Verhaghe tallied the stat sheet, finding the back of the net twice in each tilt. Some fortune is placed upon FLA captain Aleksander Barkov, who has earned his sixth 40-assist season, setting a new franchise record.

The Florida Panthers lead the National Hockey League in shot attempts, averaging 34 per game. Sending the puck to the net has been Paul Maurice’s strong suit so far yet the power play setup runs through one guy, Sam Reinhart.

Reinhart, who is in the final year of his contract, has made himself some money in this upcoming offseason. The Vancouver-born forward has 39 goals on the season, second to Auston Matthews in the entire league.

22 of those have come on the power play with Reinhart sitting in the “bumper” position on the man-advantage.

His exceptional sharpshooting ability in front has brought his statistics to a different level. He is knotted up with the entirety of the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations in PPGs. 

Florida is good for the fourth most power-play goals, standing in the middle of the pack in power-play ice time. 

They have a power play efficiency of 26 percent on the season but that has improved after a 43 percent margin since the winning streak began on January 22.

The Panthers have ascended to the top of the Eastern Conference, closely contending with the Boston Bruins for the number one spot. With 26 games remaining, the battle for supremacy in the East promises to be riveting.