The best way to describe the Florida Panthers' side of the 4-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators is simply ugly. For the Senators; the win was pretty easy. Florida never had any sustained pressure, speed or (outside of a few players) intensity. Ottawa seems to bring out the worst in the Panthers, but only two games into the season you'd hope the Cats could at least make the game competitive. That was not the case tonight.
Let's all hope coach Kevin Dineen knows exactly what went wrong, because he'll have some extra time to talk to his players as they head north to Montreal for the tail end of back-to-back games. Newly honored captain Ed Jovanovski has to lead by his coach's example to fix the problems that sunk the Panthers tonight. Games forfeited by lack of effort will ruin a shortened season that's just begun, and the players must realize this before it's too late for a comeback.
- With Kris Versteeg on the IR, Scottie Upshall received a sweet promotion from 3rd to 1st line. Last game Upshall and Shawn Matthias were the two most energized players, and Uppy threaded the needle with a Versteeg-esque low angle one-timer. Tonight he didn't look quite as good, but then again no one did.
- Dmitry Kulikov and Mike Weaver would return to the Panthers defense that desperately needed an upgrade in the opener. The two looked good for most shifts.
- With the strange schedule matrix, Alex Kovalev will only face boos from Ottawa once this year. Whether he'll receive that treatment in Montreal, New York and Pittsburgh remains to be seen. Also, the helmet Kovy wears seems to give him that 90's feel.
- Florida is taking way too many penalties, and with the departure of Garrison things do not bode well on the PK. The forwards used on the kill including Jack Skille and Matthias played well in the role though.
- Florida's first period was in perfect contrast to their first against the Canes, including dumb penalties, lazy forechecking, and lack of speed. Jose Theodore again comes to the rescue.
- Erik Karlsson jumps into the rush often, but rarely seems to get caught. Probably because he's one of the smartest defensemen in the league.
- The reason Dale Tallon keeps drafting prospects with speed is obviously because his current roster has none.
- If you're going to play dump and chase, dump it AFTER crossing the blueline. The Panthers loved to ice the puck tonight and well...it was embarrassing.
- The rumors of Matthias' hard work are turning out to be true, Matty was doing something no other Panther could; stop the Sens' breakouts. I don't think he'll ever put up great offensive numbers, but if he can grow into a physical, hard working player I'd be happy. I think Matty has finally realized what his role is, perhaps due to Dineen.
- The second period was less of a disaster, but Florida's offense still lacked any sort of traction. With an aging defense and aging goalies, this cannot be default mode for the Panthers.
- Maybe it's a bit early yet, but would it be a huge surprise to see the Senators win the Northeast Division? Certainly wouldn't for me.
- Tomas Kopecky wins the Pylon of the Game award tonight.
- Stephen Weiss sure doesn't want to prove Kevin Dineen wrong about who the captain of the Panthers truly is. The only question now is what the return will be after shipping him out.
- Some very strange line combos were seen in the last half of the game, Huberdeau with Skille and Smithson, Smithson with Mueller and Huberdeau, Skille with Weiss and Flash. Matthias with everyone...
- Huberdeau was far from great tonight, though he's about the only Panther with an excuse seeing as it was only his second game. Hubs had trouble making plays in the offensive zone and the puck slid off his stick a lot.
- When the Panthers finally strung together a few scoring chances in the third period, Anderson was there looking calm and cool. Theodore also looked exceptional, Turris' two goals were pretty much unstoppable.
- Check out Silver Seven for some Senator-centric thoughts on tonight's game.
The Panthers will hop on the train thingy that connects Ontario with Quebec tonight for a 7:30 tilt with the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow. Or maybe they'll take the bus. Who knows? That's the magic of the future. Catch the LBC preview, gamethread, friendly banter and such on the morrow.