After a furious run and a season filled with anticipation of a playoff berth, the Cats saw their season essentially die at the hands of the Boston Bruins when they allowed a goal with just 1:09 remaining in the third period.
It was a slugfest of a game, with the Panthers striking first, then the Bruins tying it, then the Panthers scoring again, only to see Boston, once again, tie the game. With things knotted at 2-2 and the season on the brink, the Panthers had a chance to put things way when they had a shot at an empty net after Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask fell down during a mad scramble. But the shot ricocheted off a Bruins’ defenseman, ending the Panthers’ last possible chance at putting the game away in regulation and getting those all-important points.
Two minutes after that, Boston’s Milan Lucic shot the puck between Roberto Luongo’s legs and into the back of the net. With a mere 69 seconds remaining, the season was done.
The Bruins won 3-2, gaining two points and putting the Panthers’ season on ice.
Now, with just five games remaining in the season, the Panthers find themselves six points back from the last playoff spot. A win Tuesday night would have brought Florida within two points of Boston, with another game scheduled for next week. But now, thanks to the loss, Florida has dropped the first tiebreaker against the Bruins, making it virtually impossible to get back in it and get that coveted playoff berth.
The Panthers now find themselves looking up at the Bruins and the Ottawa Senators.
The season has been filled with thrilling moments and flashes of a promising future, but this one hurt.
The Panthers have a slew of young up-and-coming stars and should be a force to be reckoned with in coming seasons.
But all of that was forgotten by fans on Twitter after the abrupt, heartbreaking season.
Don't care about how bright the future is. Right now sucks. That game sucked. Hold me.— Josh Appel (@JoshAppel) April 1, 2015
#FlaPanthers need to remember that period and this night. No doubt these moments will add fuel to the fire they're building in South Florida— Jameson C. Olive (@JamesonCoop) April 1, 2015
Season over— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) April 1, 2015
Have to keep in mind the steps forward the #FlaPanthers have taken. Tremendous improvement. Knocking on the door.— Steve Goldstein (@goldieonice) April 1, 2015
Did they have ANY idea how little time they had? GET THE PUCK TO THE NET!...fundamental errors late kill the #FlaPanthers season— David Neal (@DavidJNeal) April 1, 2015
Next year. #FlaPanthers— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) April 1, 2015
I'm only 12 but think I experienced my first hangover when I woke up this morning after that tough loss in Boston last night! #FlaPanthers— Gianni Zandri (@GianniZandri) April 1, 2015