Oh, hello there. I see you've come to read another postgame recap from the Florida Panthers matchup against the New York Rangers, in which the Rangers managed to humiliate the Panthers 6-1. Normally, I'd write up a nice intro here with some witticisms and other banter you often enjoy, but since the Panthers have seemingly stopped trying to do anything worth writing about, I'm going to stop trying as well.
- Jonathan Huberdeau broke out a bottle of danglesauce and soaked Mats Zuccarello with it en route to scoring his 14th of the year. Huberdeau has been pretty invisible for the Panthers since his hot start and seems to be struggling to find offensive consistency, but a lot of that is likely due to a 19-year old with a target on his back playing with offensively challenged linemates for more minutes than he's really able to handle at an NHL level. I'm not worried about him this season, and I certainly think he'll be way more ready next season, especially if the Panthers find some better talent to surround him with.
- From what I have seen in limited time this season, the trade to acquire TJ Brennan was an absolute steal by Dale Tallon. He's played very well and has shown plenty of offensive capability, including excellent vision in regards to shooting lanes. He was involved in a bad defensive breakdown that led to the Rangers' third goal, but I don't think I can put blame solely on him when his defensive partner was new (and a rookie playing his first NHL game).
- Quinton Howden's fast and that's going to translate to an opportunity with the Panthers next season. He's still got a lot of work to do to play a more consistently well-rounded game, but his breakaway speed is very useful in a lineup that seems to lack that from game to game. Part of Florida's success in the previous season was speed in the transition game and the finishing skills to make that transition rush count. Howden has those traits and I'm really hoping he can grow as a player after this season and play that exact role for the Panthers in the future.
- Alex Petrovic would play his first NHL game tonight and looked pretty good. He and defensive partner Brennan would end up making a big mistake on a coverage assignment on the Rangers' third goal, but for his first NHL game ever, he looked fairly calm and played mostly smart.
- Pretty much all of the Panthers get knocked off the puck way too easily, leading to no offensive zone control and tons of defensive zone turnovers. The only exceptions I saw tonight were Huberdeau out-dekeing anyone trying to pressure him, Nick Bjugstad shielding the puck well using his size, and Shawn Matthias doing the same except with some deft stickhandling and shifty skating. I don't know how Kevin Dineen ever expected the Panthers to play a puck possession game with their fully-healthy lineup, and they certainly can't do it with this motley crew.
- You know what I'm REALLY sick of seeing? A lack of screens in front of the opposing net. Florida had about a dozen unscreened shots from the boards and the point and Lundqvist was able to see them all the way. Traffic in front creates goals, and yet for some reason the Panthers rarely ever do this.
- Bjugstad was firing the puck a lot more and had a few decent chances on Lundquist. He seems to be getting a bit more comfortable and is playing with a bit more confidence. He has to leave his drop passes at the blue line back in gopher territory, however.
- Not to be missed: Rangers fans - or at least a single Ranger fan - was not pleased with Huberdeau this evening.
- More from Thursday's opponent at Blueshirt Banter.