SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 15: Bobby Butler #16 of the Ottawa Senators scores a goal past goaltender Scott Clemmensen #30 of the Florida Panthers on February 15, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
When you wake up tomorrow morning, make sure you check the milk carton before you pour it on your cereal. Apparently the Panthers' work ethic has gone missing. After an absolutely dismal 6-2 loss on Wednesday night to the Ottawa Senators, every Panther player and coach should be looking inward, trying to figure out why the work ethic isn't present every single game as the Cats search for their first postseason berth in over a decade. With such a small and tenuous point lead over the Washington Capitals, you hardly expected the Panthers to come out with an effort so devoid of passion and urgency as they did against the Sens, but that's exactly what we got.
Despite outshooting, outhitting and outdrawing the Sens, the Cats got pushed around, giving up odd-man rushes, breakaways, power plays and generally playing a poor team game. Starting goaltender Scott Clemmensen was victimized early by the Panthers poor play, and was eventually yanked for Jose Theodore, who struggled as well. The Panther coaching staff has to be livid after this game, but they are just as much to blame for the preparedness of their troops as anyone. The Panthers simply didn't look ready to play a hockey game and Ottawa jumped all over them. The Panthers are now even in games played with the Capitals, and still hold a small four-point lead in the division. Another few games like this, though, and that lead will disappear in an instant.
- Jim O'Brien (1) 5:35, assists to Nick Foligno and Brian Lee
- Shawn Matthias (10) 11:47, assist to Mike Weaver
- Kaspars Daugavins (4) 5:18, assists to Brian Lee and Erik Condra
- Bobby Butler (6) 7:24, assists to Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza
- Daniel Alfredsson (20) SH 14:06, assists to Kaspars Daugavins
- There are no silver linings, no favorable angles, no positives to take away. Florida just got straight up trounced in this one. They were outworked, outskated, outchanced. They were sloppy in both ends, didn't get the goaltending when they needed to, and deserve the tongue-lashing and bag skates they may end up getting for this loss. If this team wants to make the playoffs, these types of losses have to stop now, because the Panthers have no room for them for the rest of the season.
- Yet another game where the Cats allowed the first goal. Broken record, eh? The Panthers have a disturbing trend of not coming out ramped up for the start of a period and it's a big reason why they get down in a hole early in games. If they make the playoffs, they're going to find that to be a very bad habit to have, as things are much tighter in the postseason on both ends of the ice. Climbing back out of those holes will be much tougher at that point.
- The Cats haven't had a four-game win streak since 2008. That's one of the most awful streaks I've heard of in awhile.
- The second period looked simply dismal. Very few of the Panthers skated hard the whole period, and there were more breakdowns than an LMFAO concert. The Panthers lost the game in one period. You hear the coaches and player preach the sixty-minute game, but clearly everyone forgot about that against the Sens.
- I love Randy Moller. That is all.
- The Panthers are putting Tomas Kopecky in front on the powerplay regularly now, and you gotta wonder why he hasn't been there all along. He was peeing in Anderson's cheerios every time he was out there, not only by getting in the way but by hacking at the puck so Andy couldn't get a clean cover with the glove.
- Clemmensen really misplayed the first goal, getting caught way out of position on the wrap around chance by O'Brien. Can't completely blame him though as one of the Panther D-men should've put O'Brien on the seat of his pants before he had a chance to complete the wrap. Clemmer made up for it later in the first though, stuffing a clear breakaway and preserving the 1-1 tie after the Matthias goal. He was later pulled though for Jose Theodore, who didn't fare much better. Can't really blame the goalies completely in this game though.
- Matthias' wrister in the first was a thing of beauty. He couldn't have had better placement on the shot and that's what we in the business like to call a "goal-scorer's goal". Matty was flying most of the game and when he's working hard, good things happen for Florida. There's no question he's a difference-maker for this team.
- Tonight's drink? Gin and tonic. One for every Sens goal. Gonna be a rough morning.
First Star: The in-game feed had the Kiss Cam up. At least that was worth watching.
Worst Star: Everyone wearing a red sweater.
Up Next: After getting spanked against division rival Washington last time they played, you can be sure the Panthers have Friday night circled on the calendar. Everyone knows division games are huge, but the Caps are probably the only team that can give Florida a real opponent for the division lead and the number three seed in the East. Let's hope Dineen has the boys fired up for this one, as it's as important a game as they're going to play this season.