Why the 'juggernaut' Florida Panthers are the NHL's must-watch Stanley Cup contender

When the Florida Panthers hit the ice, goals follow.

No team in the NHL scores more of them on average. Combined with a middle-of-the-pack defense, the Panthers have more total goals than any league club. Some nights they look like potential Stanley Cup champions who overwhelm their foes. On others, they desperately try to outscore their way out of trouble.

They're a lot of things, but they're never boring.

"It's always fun when you win," interim coach Andrew Brunette said, "but there are certain nights, when it's a little bit ..."

Brunette points to his head.

"There's more gray hair coming around here every day for a reason. But I'm a fan of the game and I love to watch it. It's great for the fans. We're an entertaining team," he said.

Through 51 games, the Panthers averaged 4.12 goals, the only team in the NHL to put up more than four goals per game. They've done so with a power play that's just 14th in the NHL (20.8%) because they're a stellar 5-on-5 team: 146 goals scored, 19 more than the next highest team, the Carolina Hurricanes.

"That's the juggernaut team for me," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "They're hitting it now. That management team's done a great job in how they've assembled that team. There are no weaknesses. They play to their identity. You're going to get a high-octane team. You gotta be on your toes or they're going to make you pay."

Back in the 1980s, it was said the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers would intimidate teams through the stats sheet, even before stepping on the ice with them.

"[We're] not like the Oilers. No one's like the Oilers," Brunette said. "But when we get in our building and start rolling line after line, with the pace we play at, I think we put a little bit of fear in their eyes when they come in."

As Brind'Amour put it: "A fun team to watch. Not so much to play against."