Corey Neilson: Nottingham Panthers coach positive ahead of play-offs
Nottingham Panthers head coach Corey Neilson believes his side's run of form at the end of the season shows they are a contender for the play-off title.
Panthers won six of their final seven games to secure fourth place in the Elite League table.
Neilson's side will now take on fifth-placed Belfast Giants in a two-legged quarter-final on Friday and Sunday.
"We had a good end to the season and I saw plenty of things I liked," Neilson told BBC Radio Nottingham.
The Panthers made an impressive start to the season and reached the knockout stages of the Champions Hockey League, despite being the lowest-ranked club in the 32-team competition.
They were top of the Elite League in November but a pre and post-Christmas slump saw them slip to seventh, before a resurgence in the last month.
"We had some tough times in December, January and February but I think we have come back well," continued Neilson, who will leave the Panthers at the end of the season.
"The slate is wiped clean now and play-off hockey is exciting for players and supporters alike.
"Belfast will be formidable opponents and they have had a great season, winning the Challenge Cup.
"It will be a great series but my players are focused and very much up for it."
Panthers travel to Belfast for the first leg on Friday before the return in Nottingham on Sunday.