On a positive note, there was nothing controversial about this one.
Florida - outshot but unbowed after the first frame with a one-goal lead - proceeded to throw up their collective hands and surrender when no such action was necessary against a thoroughly beatable Senators squad, ultimately losing 5-3 behind five straight Ottawa goals. And it truly wasn't that close.
We'll get to the numbers in a moment; for now the only aspect of this "game" that needs to be communicated to Cats Faithful was the Panthers' ability to stop, drop, and roll. In any zone, at any time. No cohesion, no symmetry. A complete athletic mess, Florida had no chance to climb back into the game as the Sens' continued to pressure - weakly - allowing for a blowout score halfway through the third.
Everyone was at fault, though if a "victim" has to be named, we'd say it was goaltender Tomas Vokoun; left to dry on more than a few occasions, Tvo did what he could to keep it close, though an odd-man Zack Smith needle-threader in the second was enough to seal the mess for all involved. Witness:
If we weren't clear before, we'll state it again: there was nothing positive to gain from either the effort nor strategies involved in Thursday's non-appearance. They were behind the plays, following the Senators' lead, and generally standing around while leaving Vokoun exposed. A lot.
Fortunately this didn't go down in Sunrise; regardless, fans should be stirred up and downright angry over the no-show. We didn't pay to see it (this time), but cable advertisers should be embarrassed, sponsors displeased.
On a personal note, I want to see this bunch blow away the pundits and naysayers as much as anyone...but it ain't happening with the crew currently onboard. Either the roster isn't up to the competition or the coaching staff (namely Peter DeBoer and offensive guru Jim Hulton) has run devoid of ideas. Hate saying it, but something's got to give. Holding onto a fractured fanbase and disinterested market is going to take nothing less than a .500 record, even in a rebuilding year, the likes of which this franchise this has honestly never seen. Maybe it's Low T.
At least the re-build is without question underway. Better days ahead.
Game notes: Mike Santorelli led the Cats in SOG (6), followed by Chris Higgins (4). Ironically both had their first goals of the season (and Higgy really needed it). Alex Kovalev fired 6 SOG for Ottawa. Santorelli, Higgins, and Bryan McCabe (his seventh point of the year in eight games) scored for FLA, as Milan Michalek (1g-1a), Daniel Alfredsson (1g-1a), Mike Fisher (same), Kovalev, and Smith scored for Ottawa. Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots as Tvo put the brakes on 23. Forwards Stephen Weiss and David Booth both finished with a -4. Only Chris Neil finished with less than an - even - rating (-1) among the Senators, which was quite the effort on such a night. Dennis Wideman led in TOI with 22:58, behind only Sergei Gonchar's total (exactly one minute more). Florida first-liner Michael Frolik was a (thankfully) healthy scratch. More from Silver Seven.
Next up: Cats at Habs, Saturday evening. Live Game Chat right here at 7pm.