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This was the sporting equivalent of going to Las Vegas, staying in some high-priced hotels, enjoying everything that Sin City has to offer and still coming back with lots of cash in your pockets because you had a couple of winning nights at the blackjack tables.

In other words, this was quite a road trip for the Florida Panthers.

Indeed, Florida (10-8-1) just won three out of four games away from home, beating the top team in the Eastern Conference (the Montreal Canadiens), the top club in the Metropolitan Division (the New York Rangers) and a third playoff contender (the Ottawa Senators).

Now the Panthers return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers (8-8-3) at the BB&T Center on Tuesday night. The Panthers are a virtual lock to start top goalie Roberto Luongo after backup James Reimer beat the Rangers 3-2 on Sunday night.

“This was a big boost to our team,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant told reporters after his franchise’s first win at New York’s Madison Square Garden in three years. “The Rangers are a great team. “I thought we held the fort in the first period (trailing 1-0) and played a real good game from there.”

The Panthers had left home before this trip with just one road win on the season. But then they did what they did — which included knocking off two of the elite goalies in the league in Montreal’s Carey Price and New York’s Henrik Lundqvist.

Florida now has 21 points after 19 games. At this point last season, the Panthers had just 19 points, and they went on to win the Atlantic Division.

Meanwhile, the Flyers are just 3-4-1 on

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