If Tuesday night's win against the Winnipeg Jets was the Panthers at their best, tonight's atrocious performance against the Washington Capitals was the Cats at their worst. After getting humiliated in Washington by a score of 7-1, the Panthers once again turned in another effort that makes them look like they simply don't belong. It's impossible to predict what kind of Florida team you're going to see from game to game, but there was no question as to which one we saw in this game.
However, the real culprit for this loss was the goaltending. Both Panthers goaltenders would turn in beer league performances and deflate any optimism out of the players skating in front of them. Kevin Dineen mercifully pulled Jacob Markstrom after his early collapse, wisely keeping him out of the game and letting Scott Clemmensen take the beating. The Panthers simply had no shot at winning this game after the first ten minutes, when four weak goals were allowed. Can't have that and expect to win, or even compete.
- Jacob Markstrom, welcome to the NHL. Yanked after two goals on two shots. Awful, AWFUL first goal allowed. Marky is way better than he showed tonight, and he'll bounce back because he's a competitor. But his early play was inexcusable. He's gotta be sharp and more ready than that.
- If Markstrom getting pulled was bad, seeing the worst statistical goalie in the NHL skate out to take his spot in net makes you want to cry. Scott Clemmensen would let up two quick ones not long after replacing Markstrom. He's been utterly deplorable this season and it makes me sad to know he was just signed to another two-year deal last offseason. Ugh.
- Florida would muster 30 shots, many of them barely challenging Washington goaltender Braden Holtby. The Panthers had trouble getting anything going after the utter failure of the goaltending early on and didn't have much in the scoring chance department either.
- The only (and let me stress ONLY) nice thing I have to say about the Panthers tonight was the performance of the third line of Shawn Matthias, Jon Rheault and Jack Skille. They were effective every time they were on the ice and were the only Florida players that finished with a positive plus-minus. They skated hard, hit, played defensive hockey and were forechecking effectively. They played simple, smart hockey.
- Tyson Strachan destroyed Jason Chimera and would receive a game misconduct. I would expect Strachan to get a call from the Shannahammer in the very near future.
- Tomas Kopecky would leave the game in the third period after limping to the bench. Luckily his skate blade just fell out of his skate and it wasn't an injury. When it rains, it pours.
- I would never, ever want to make Nolan Yonkman mad. That dude is frightening.
- Colby Robak's getting a lot more playing time, but might not be ready for it. He got absolutely torched on the Capitals' seventh goal. By the way, I never really thought I'd use the word "seventh" in this recap, but there you have it.
- I wish I had more to write about, but I don't. This is one to forget, folks.