Florida Panthers

Panthers surviving off of ‘loser points’

Doing the math: ‘They add up pretty quick,’ Panthers right wing Brad Boyes said over overtime points.
Doing the math: ‘They add up pretty quick,’ Panthers right wing Brad Boyes said over overtime points. AP

Three seasons ago, no other NHL team had as many overtime or shootout losses than the Panthers.

Florida made the playoffs that year in part because of the 18 points that came with those losses.

The Panthers’ eight overtime losses lead the league again this season and has helped them stay in the postseason mix despite having just 12 victories.

“Points are big especially when you haven’t played well and don’t deserve a win,” said Brad Boyes, who gave Florida its only non-shootout overtime victory with a goal in Colorado back on Oct. 21.

“They add up pretty quick. At the end of the season, you don’t want to be looking back needing one or two points to make the playoffs.”

Although the Panthers have been stockpiling the so-called “loser point,” they definitely need to start winning some more games as they cannot rely on simply making it to overtime.

When it comes to wins in regulation and overtime — which is the first tie-breaker for the playoffs — Florida doesn’t stack up, at least right now, with the other contenders.

Even though the Panthers and Rangers have the same number of points in the same number of games, New York currently holds the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference because it has three more wins in regulation and overtime than the Panthers.

Florida is 3-8 in overtime this season, winning once in the five-minute overtime session and twice in the shootout.

The Panthers have lost four in overtime and four shootouts.

“We would obviously like to have a better record in overtime but I like to look at the positives,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “I don’t think we’ve played bad in overtime but we have had some bad luck. Those are big important points and we need to be focused on them.”

Vokoun retires

Former Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun announced his retirement on Sunday after 14 seasons in the league.

Vokoun came to Florida when then-general manager Jacques Martin traded for him at the 2007 draft in Columbus.

Vokoun spent four seasons with the Panthers, going 101-108-30 and making 92 percent of his saves after facing a whopping 7,902 shots. Vokoun never made it to the playoffs with Florida, although he did come close in 2009.

After helping the Penguins to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013, another blood clot was discovered and he missed all of last season. A similar ailment had cut short his 2005-06 season.

A free agent this summer, Vokoun didn’t find the right fit and has remained in South Florida.

“He was a goalie who was very hard to score on even if we were just skating here during the summer or during the lockout,” said Tomas Kopecky, who is Vokoun’s neighbor in northwestern Broward County.

“There wasn’t much room to score against him. He was very competitive.”

Kopecky said he’s seen more of Vokoun lately as he’s been helping coach goalies at North Broward Prep as well as working with the Junior Panther program in Coral Springs.

Injury update

Scottie Upshall and Aleksander Barkov remain close to returning to the lineup. Upshall said he still needs medical clearance to play but doesn't expect that to be a problem.

“I’ll probably see the doctor before the game,” Upshall said. “I feel good and have been skating hard this past week. I’m feeling pretty solid.”

Tuesday: Capitals at Panthers

When/where: 7:30 p.m.; BB&T Center, Sunrise

TV/Radio: FSFL; WQAM 560.

Series: Washington leads 59-44-9.

Noteworthy: Washington kicks off a three-game road trip after winning four of the past five — including two over Tampa Bay. The Capitals have the league’s most productive power play at 26.5 percent.

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