Panthers Blow Early Lead, Allow 6 Unanswered to Devils

Bruce Bennett

Florida has allowed 27 regulation goals in the last 5 games to drop their goal differential to -55.

The Florida Panthers failed to eliminate the New Jersey Devils again. About a year ago the Panthers had two chances to eliminate the Devils in the first round of the playoffs but simply couldn't break through, and today the Panthers whiffed on a chance to send the Devils to the golf course this summer. This game was bad, even though it started out pretty well for the Cats who extended a 2-0 lead on the Devils; but as many were able to guess Florida would blow that lead and stumble as the game went on. Final score 6-2, Devils escape with postseason hopes still alive.

What's worse is that Florida put up a grand total of 13 shots, 7 in the first, then 4, then 2. They gave up 33. I didn't quite expect the Panthers to nosedive after elimination day quite like they've been doing, but now it looks pretty reasonable to suggest the Panthers will end the season on a 9 game losing streak. See everyone tomorrow!

Observations:

  • Erik Gudbranson would not be playing due to a hand/wrist injury he sustained in the NYR game on Thursday, but Filip Kuba would be back to complete the D corps.
  • Florida jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Marcel Goc and Brian Campbell goals just 54 seconds apart. Goc and Tomas Fleischmann connecting on another goal, who would have ever guessed that? Soupy would add an assist on it and net one of his own thanks to Shawn Matthias and Mike Weaver.
  • I think the Panthers may have made a mistake waiving Ryan Carter and keeping [insert unimpressive Panther from 2011-12 season here] instead.
  • ROOKIE REPORT (Jeez, 6 of them now?): Quinton Howden- Good screen on the Campbell goal and drew a penalty with his speed. Basically he's a second Jack Skille, which is OK for now. Denied on a penalty shot. Jacob Markstrom- He was a bit burned on the Patrik Elias goal, though with Elias skating north to south through all 4 Panthers penalty killers, he really shouldn't have had to face that shot in the first place. I'm not going to defend everything Markstrom lets in by pegging it on the defense, but wow was that ever a pathetic effort from the Panther Pylons. Rinse and repeat for the second goal. And third. 5th goal was definitely on Marky though. Alex Petrovic- Took a penalty that led to a goal, but otherwise played alright. Physicality in his defense is the big plus for Petro, and though it didn't catch up to him, he did have a tendency to cheat on the breakout. That's either his offensive vision shining through or just a rookie trying to be a step ahead of the game. Big screw-up on the 5th goal. Jonathan Huberdeau- Looked a bit better than he had in the last few games I've watched him in, still doesn't draw much attention his way. Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore- Invisible.
  • Dmitry Kulikov looked absolutely pitiful today.
  • Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but again Dineen refused to pull Markstrom while the game was still in reach. I guess he wants to improve his chances of coaching the 1st overall pick too.
  • This team is just really, really bad right now. Not many bright spots on exhibit tonight.
  • Find the Devils recap at the glorious In Lou We Trust. Tomorrow will go Caterwaul-less, but drop by at SBN sister Stanley Cup of Chowder for a mighty fine good old time.

Sunday the Panthers will face off against the Boston Bruins, who've won the previous two games in the season series by 4-1 scores. Here's the catch, it's another afternoon matinee game. Tell me, why do people complain about shootouts when the worst thing in hockey is obviously these stupid afternoon game? But anyways, 4 games left before McJones Day. Panthers at Bruins, 12:30pm, way too early for my liking.

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