The Florida Panthers are currently sitting pretty with 42 points, good for first place in the Southeast Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference. They have gotten at least one point in eight of their last ten games, and more and more fans are beginning to consider the fact that they might be for real.
If the Panthers are going to make a run at the playoffs, though, they will have to do it despite missing some key players to injuries. Center Marcel Goc has missed the majority of the season with a concussion and isn't expected back until sometime in January. Also, it was announced Monday night that forward Steve Bergenheim will be sidelined with a groin strain.
Bergenheim had emerged in recent games as an offensive threat on the Panthers' second line, providing the Cats with some depth behind their first line trio of Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann, and Kris Versteeg. He scored two goals in the Panthers' 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday, and then scored an impressive goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night, driving the puck to the net against two defenders to give the Panthers an early lead. There is no set timetable for his return, but his presence will be missed.
To fill Bergenheim's spot, the Panthers have recalled forward Tim Kennedy from San Antonio. There are also a number of reports that suggest the Panthers have signed Bill Thomas to a contract and are also calling him up from San Antonio.
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