The Panthers 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings was atypical of Florida's effort while playing a good team, if only because they didn't give up 7 goals. What was typical was a lack of offensive pressure leading to the team being shutout for the second time in 6 games, another game in which the forwards couldn't contribute in the defensive zone, and another game in which the defense couldn't help the goalie out. This result shouldn't be terribly surprising after last game, since they weren't facing a goalie making his first career start and being left in for the entire game. Florida has scoring problems, and they'll only face shaky backup goalies so often.
Were there any positives in this game? I suppose keeping LA from netting an extra four goals is good. Matt Gilroy was good. Besides that, not a lot of fight came from the Panthers despite hanging in there with LA for a good part of the game. Even so, was this the real LA Kings or just the LA Kings enjoying a laid-back practice in preparation for the next team on their schedule? I'm pointing towards the latter. Just another lazy game in which Florida couldn't even begin to make a splash.
- Former Panther Keaton Ellerby would be a healthy scratch for the game, which is a shame since it would be nice to experience his excellent defensive positioning and hockey sense on the opposition for once. On a related note, I'm not sure why Tallon thought Tom Gilbert would be a better option than TJ Brennan for a puck-moving defenseman this offseason.
- On the Panthers, Ryan Whitney would be scratched for the second straight game for Matt Gilroy. Whitney has looked atrocious in the early going of the season, and Gilroy had a solid debut against Pittsburgh and continued the trend against the Kings.
- I was skeptical of the Scott Gomez signing when it happened, but so far he's lived up to his value as a veteran. Gomez has stood out to me for his puckhandling and composure under pressure, which seems to be a team weakness.
- I could count the number of times I've seen Tomas Kopecky this season on one hand.
- The first period of the game was pretty even, with the defense of both teams setting the pace. This reminded me of the last game the Panthers played in LA, just a low scoring defensive matchup that the Kings would eventually pull away in. Seeing the Panthers show up defensively(albeit for a short duration) is awesome, but everyone knows that defense itself is not enough to win games, and the Florida forwards must take advantage of a game that they aren't down 2-0 through 20 minutes.
- I'm skeptical of those who claim that Krys Barch can skate. He can glide around looking for a fight yes, but actively skate and contribute to a rush?
- Los Angeles would take the lead on a defensive slip-up by the Panthers when Gilbert and Campbell both committed below the goal line and the forwards(Huberdeau and Versteeg, primarily) went AWOL as Mike Richards fed Daniel Carcillo. I was surprised it took LA until halfway through the game to capitalize.
- Not long after Huberdeau left for the locker room, the Kings would take advantage of the ridiculously ineffective Campbell-Gilbert pairing as Justin Williams tapped in the puck. Gilbert has proven to be nothing more than a pylon, and Campbell's defense has been severely lacking. You can only give Campbell so much of a break for his offensive contribution this year, because for the number of goals he's been a part of with the Cats, he's been on the ice for just as many.
- Markstrom has played reasonably well with the game on the line, so when Tim Thomas returns I could see a goalie battle taking place. Neither goalie has really staked their claim on the depth chart as a starter, but at this point I'd like to see an even split between the two, since Thomas will likely singing his swan song as an NHLer towards the end of the season and Marky needs to take over this team eventually.
- One of these days Sean Bergenheim will return to the Panthers, but I don't think he's going to solve the Panther's offensive problems.
- Head on over to Jewels From The Crown to catch their summary of the game.
Next up: Florida heads up to the Music City for a quick one game trip to Bridgestone Arena to take on the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The Predators have gotten off to a slow start, but have faced some difficult opponents in their first 5 games. Cats at Preds, 8 EST.