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NHL - US Sports: Panthers clinch Presidents' Trophy

The Florida Panthers clinched their first ever Presidents' Trophy, awarded to the NHL team with the best record in the regular season, with a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

The Panthers, 17/4 to win the Stanley Cup, will be the number seed for the playoffs and enjoy home ice advantage throughout the post-season campaign after recording the best regular season in their history.

Panthers in almost perfect form

Florida are just the seventh team in NHL history to record 58 wins in a season (58-17-6) with one game remaining and they head into the post-season in fine form - having won 14 of their last 16 games.

It's been a remarkable season for the Panthers, who lost coach Joel Quenneville on 29th October when he resigned and was replaced by his assistant Andrew Brunette.

In his first NHL head coaching role, 48-year-old Brunette is now a leading contender for the Jack Adams award as coach of the year after leading the Panthers past the 100-point mark for just the second time in their history.

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The last Presidents' Trophy winner to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions were the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012/13, while since 1987 eight winners have gone on to lift the cup.

The Panthers have never won the Stanley Cup, coming closest in1996 when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Final.

Brunette hails his players

Brunette said to the media: "It's a tribute to our group that whoever plays, we compete and we play hard. I think the depth of our team has been on display every night, all year.

"We play hard and we do the right things, we play the right way and we buy into what we're trying to do."

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