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Derek MacKenzie

Panthers desperate for wins in final six games as playoff hopes dim

Panthers desperate for wins in final six games as playoff hopes dim

The Florida Panthers need desperation to transform into production — and quickly.

With a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa on Thursday night, the Panthers squandered a chance to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race with just six games remaining in the season. Florida enters Saturday three points behind New Jersey for the final wild-card spot with one game in hand on the Devils.

But the Panthers could have closed the gap to two points had they beaten the lowly Senators, after New Jersey’s own overtime loss to Pittsburgh. Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson was called for tripping on a breakaway with 16 seconds left in overtime, giving Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageu a penalty...

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