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Overtime outcome not symbolic of future for Panthers, Canucks

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KopitarAnze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Kopitar scored the game-tying goal and added three assists in the Kings' 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings, and he now has 15 points in his past nine games.


RamoKarri Ramo, Calgary Flames
Ramo allowed five goals on just 13 shots in the Flames' 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks, the second straight defeat for Ramo.


Where are the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks headed now?

Pierre LeBrun@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Now that the Panthers' winning streak is over, what do we see for them the rest of the season? It figures, of course, that Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo would see his team's 12-game streak end in his former rink, with the Canucks rallying for a 3-2 overtime victory Monday night. The reality is that the Panthers were playing close games lately and it felt like the streak was running on fumes. But what a streak it was, propelling the Panthers to the top of the Atlantic Division. The OT point on Monday puts them six ahead of the Red Wings and eight clear of the Canadiens. That's a pretty healthy gap, even with half a season to go. As for the Canucks, it was Daniel Sedin with the OT winner, his second of the night, giving him 19 on the season. Daniel and his twin brother, Henrik Sedin, are as impactful as ever this season, even at age 35. By announcing Chris Higgins is on the trade block, the Canucks have signified they want to continue to get younger, but the Sedins aren't going anywhere. Vancouver's retooling will happen around them and include them.


Joe McDonald@ESPNJoeyMac: Some might believe the Panthers hit their peak at midseason and now could fall back in the standings, but that won't be the case. If anything, Florida's 12-game winning streak created the confidence the team has been looking for, and it got the attention of every team in the league. The Panthers are a dangerous team, and even though the streak is over, don't be surprised if Florida produces something similar in the second half of the season. Teams never want to peak too soon; they want to play their best hockey down the stretch and into the playoffs, but the timing of the Panthers' surge was perfect, and now they sit atop the Atlantic standings with 57 points. If the goal to earn a postseason berth is 96 points, the Panthers are on their way.


Craig Custance@CraigCustance: Pierre, I remember talking to former Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman when Vancouver was starting its rebuild process, and I was trying to figure out whether the Sedins were going to be a part of it. Gilman shared the theory that it was very important to have those leaders and winners around as you bring in young talent, so they can connect the culture of the Canucks teams that were winning tons of games and nearly a Stanley Cup to the next generation in Vancouver. It was a different strategy than the scorched-earth rebuilds we've seen other teams undertake, but we've also seen the struggles of learning how to win with a young group with no connection to its past. It made a lot of sense. Now, the jury is still out whether the new regime is going to pull off the rebuild in Vancouver, but the Sedins' leadership and class continues to shine through. It would be great for hockey to see them get one last shot at a Stanley Cup before it's all over.


Scott Burnside@ESPN_Burnside: Don't you love a little symmetry with your hockey? And that was a nice intersection of the past and the present with Vancouver halting the Panthers' streak. Craig, I envisioned the Canucks would be chasing the No. 1 pick, along with another Pacific Division team that has refused to play to type, the Arizona Coyotes. Both teams occupy a playoff spot as of Tuesday morning, and I wonder what kind of odds you might have gotten at the start of the season that that would be the case. I don't see both staying in the top eight in the West, but I also didn't really think they'd be there as we barrel toward the middle of January, either. As for the Cats, I'm headed to South Florida next week for a close-up look at what's happening there. I'm with Joey Mac. I don't think the end of the streak means a crash back to earth and out of the playoff discussion by any means. The team is too well-coached, too well-built for that. Every team rides out a little rough spot during the season, and even if the Panthers don't continue to light it up, I still think we're talking playoff hockey in South Florida in mid-April.


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