The Florida Panthers finished their first half with three consecutive wins and will look to build on that success beginning on Friday.
Florida went 20-20-8 in the first half and currently sits at 48 points on the season. The Panthers are 12th in the Eastern Conference and are 11 points back of the last playoff position. With 34 games remaining, Florida still has a chance to make up some ground in the standings.
The Panthers will need to avoid losing streaks going forward, which is something that has been a problem for them this season. Florida has lost three or more games in a row, on four separate occasions this season. Florida's longest skid in the first half was seven games and it came right before the team's current win streak.
Florida will start the second half with four straight games at home. The Panthers are 10-6-5 at BB&T Center this season and have won their last two home contests. Florida will host the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins over the next week.
After that four-game homestand, the Panthers will go on the road for just one game. Florida will then return home for a long seven-game homestand. With 11 out of their next 12 games at home, the Panthers will spend plenty of time in Sunrise and their playoff chances should become clearer.
Due to playing so many games in a row at home, Florida will spend a good deal of time on the road later this season. The Panthers will be away from Florida often in March and their opponents will consistent of multiple contending teams. With their backs likely to be against the wall, the Panthers are going to need to come away with a few tough road wins during this stretch.
When looking at Florida's play in the first half, one group stands out more than others. The Panthers did a great job on power plays and are ranked third in the National Hockey League in that department. The Panthers converted on 26.8 percent of their power play opportunities prior to the All-Star Game.
Florida is going to need some better production from the goaltenders on the roster in the second half. Roberto Luongo is suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career and James Reimer has not fared much better. Luongo and Reimer both have save-percentages under .900 and have taken a step back from last season's numbers in multiple categories.
After narrowly missing the playoffs last year, Florida began this season with plenty of hope. While a playoff run is still possible, it will be a tough road for the team. The Panthers will not only need consistent production from a group that has been largely inconsistent, but they will also need luck and a little help along the way.
Florida's second half will begin against the Predators on Friday at 7:00 p.m.