Critical Stretch Coming Up for the Florida Panthers

Aaron BrenkerCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

It's been a rough season for the Florida Panthers so far, but it's only going to get tougher, as they play three incredibly huge games in the coming week.

The Panthers will take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. Carolina, or the dive team as many Panthers fans like to call them, bring to town a solid four line offensive attack. Players like Eric Stall, Ray Whitney and Justin Williams have always been a thorn in the Panthers' side.

This is probably the biggest game of Florida's home-stand, as it is a four point game, against a division rival. Currently the Panthers find themselves in the cellar of the Eastern Conference, but a win against the Hurricanes will go a long way in renewing the Panthers' confidence.

The second game of Florida's home-stand is against the New Jersey Devils. The Panthers outplayed the Devils in their last meeting, but three beautiful goals by New Jersey helped propel them over Florida.

New Jersey plays sound defensive hockey, with excellent two-way forwards. The Panthers will have to win the puck possession battle, if they want to gain two points from the Devils.

The last game of the home-stand pits the Panthers against the New York Rangers. The Rangers got off to an amazing start to the season, but have struggled a bit as of late. The Panthers must capitalize on New York's recent struggles.

New York brings in a group of excellent scoring forwards, but also a crop of at times careless defensemen. The Panthers will have to be wary of Nikolai Zherdev, Brandon Dubinsky, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez. But the player who could give Florida the most problems may be Aaron Voros.

Voros is a physical forward who has been successful offensively. The Panthers defensemen will have to keep Voros away from the front of the net, a place that he has called home for most of the young NHL season.

This will be a very telling home-stand for the Panthers. The Panthers must win at least two of the three games for it to be a successful home-stand.