|(above) DU Alum Kevin Dineen engineered a historic turnaround in Florida this season|
Rookie head coach Kevin Dineen, who played college hockey at the University of Denver in the early '80s, led the Florida Panthers to a division crown. They went from 15th place in the Eastern Conference a year ago to a #3 seed this season. It was the greatest turnaround since the league went to 32 teams.
The Panthers waited 12 years to make it back to the playoff, which was the longest drought in NHL history. They’ll have to wait a little longer for their taste of postseason action. While all other series open Wednesday or Thursday, the Panthers’ series against the New Jersey Devils will start on Friday.
The Panthers last made the playoffs in 2000.