Year of the Cat, er, Panther? Carolina pays tribute to streaking Florida

The Florida Panthers extended their franchise-best winning streak to 10 games — the longest in the NHL this season — with a 5-1 victory over the Sabres Tuesday in Buffalo.

With 52 points through 40 contests, the Panthers are a surprise atop the Atlantic Division, and it seems their recent run of exceptional play has caught the attention of another Panthers team that only recently saw their own incredible win streak end.

Shortly after Tuesday’s win, which included 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr’s team-leading 14th goal of the season, the team sent out a tweet acknowledging the streak reaching 10 games. The message not only caught the attention of the nearby Miami Heat, who replied with congratulations, but also the similarly-named Carolina Panthers, who jumped on the bandwagon with a cat GIF:

Earlier this season, the Carolina Panthers rattled off a 14-game win streak before the Atlanta Falcons handed them their first and only loss of the year on Dec. 27. (Carolina is currently awaiting its divisional round playoff opponent.) The Florida Panthers’ run started with a win over the New York Islanders on Dec. 15 and has featured five wins over teams currently in line for a playoff spot.

The win over Buffalo was the first of six consecutive road games for Florida, so the hockey Panthers could potentially surpass the football Panthers’ streak next Sunday when the trip concludes against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Should the streak survive that long, the NHL record for the longest winning streak belongs to the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 17 in a row in March and April.

That Penguins team, of course, was led in part by none other than Jagr, who played his first NHL game in October 1990 — before 12 of his current teammates were even born.

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