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Florida Panthers : Shot differential balloons to seven

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Back-to-back losses to the Capitals - by a combined score of 11-5 - undoubtedly has the Panthers, if not their fans - reeling and looking for answers.

The old Shots For/Shots Against demon is certainly one area to focus on, though it is far from surprising: after 15 games, the Cats are averaging a 24th "best" 28.1 Shots-For while allowing an average of 35.1 Shots-Against, good for worst in the NHL. Again, nothing new here, but a seven-shot differential is scary, and not an efficient way to win games, much less remain competitive.

Obviously their goals-per-game numbers suffer as (one) direct result: on average, Florida is scoring 2.53 goals while allowing 3.60 (21st and tied for 29th with Toronto for last in the league, respectively).

While we're at it, lets look at some individual stats, in relation to the above numbers. Among those who have played at least thirteen games, here is your All-Bust plus-minus lineup:

  • F Gregory Campbell: -5
  • D Keith Ballard: -5
  • D Bryan Allen: -5
  • F Rostislav Olesz: -5
  • F Stephen Weiss: -8
  • D Dmitry Kulikov: -9

Frightening. Yes, arguments could - and will - be made demanding exceptions for a few of these: Allen is returning from a year away, Uberkinder Kulikov is playing his first season out of juniors, etc. But wins typically come on the efforts of The Collective, and collectively they've sucked.

By the way, your current plus-minus "Kings" are Kamil Kreps, Dennis Seidenberg, and Steven Reinprecht: congrats on the plus-2, boys!

What about goaltending? In a word: brutal. Fairly omitting Alexander Salak's 18-minute relief effort in the first week, Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen are carrying numbers far more at home in the high-scoring 1980s:


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Tomas Vokoun 12 703 3 8 35 2.99 419 384 .916 2

GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Scott Clemmensen 4 187 2 1 16 5.13 99 83 .838 0


Not cool. Not entirely their faults, of course, but neither has managed to make the Big Saves or carry the club to victory. And forget doing either of those on a consistent basis...it ain't happening at all.

Injuries have been sustained, lines were shuffled, call-ups made from Rochester (who's been killing the AHL for weeks), and it's the same old tired result. Has Pete DeBoer his a brick wall, or is this simply part of the learning curve for a young coach? Does Randy Sexton actually have any authority to spend money as he (responsibly) pleases? And where are the veterans, supposedly employed to lead the way for da youts? How about Captain Bryan McCabe and alternates Cory Stillman and Weiss?

Suggestions?