Florida Panthers defenseman T.J. Brennan (3) battles with Tampa Bay Lightning center Tom Pyatt (11) for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)The Associated Press
Florida Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom (35), of Sweden, stops Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Benoit Pouliot (67) on a penalty shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)The Associated Press
SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers began the season with lots of optimism. They end it with the worst record in the NHL.
The Panthers had high hopes for 2013 after capturing their first division title in 2012 and ending an 11-year playoff drought. But a rash of injuries, some shaky goaltending and the worst penalty killing in the league combined to derail Florida.
The team endured an early five-game losing streak and never got to the .500 mark the rest of the season as it finished last in the Eastern Conference for the second time in three seasons.
Even though the Panthers were expected to have a hard time repeating as champions in the last year of the Southeast Division, injuries gave them almost no chance.