A little goal here. An important save there. A massive body-check everywhere. These days, every move that the Florida Panthers make carries heavy consequences. Today is the fifth-to-last game of the Cats regular season, and at press time, they were still in contention to land the eighth and last slot in the playoffs. Although much has been made of the Panthers kinda sorta OK but not-so-great season, the skaters seemed to have regained their momentum when captain Olli Jokinen got re-signed to a four-year, $21-million season in March. That deal looked like the sports equivalent of an engagement ring, meaning that the owners were ready to commit and looking forward to a bright future together. Additionally, Cat coach Jacques Martin refused dalliances with draft picks or hyped-up prospects, thus signaling that he was remaining faithful to the core of his team -- guys like Stephen Weiss (whos been injured much of this season but still holds a lot of promise) and regular scorer Nathan Horton. Cross your fingers as the Panthers play the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the BankAtlantic Center (One Panthers Pkwy., Sunrise) and try to get in it to win it. The game begins at 5 p.m.; tickets cost $20 and up. Call 954-523-3309, or visit www.floridapanthers.com.
Sun., April 9