The Florida Panthers returned to action after an extended layoff, that apparently did little to no good, and were promptly shutout for the second time this season by the powerful St. Louis Blues. The Blues cruised to an easy 4-0 win after taking the first game between the clubs in the Gateway City by a 7-0 count back on October 5th.
The Cats managed to keep things close, only trailing by one after the opening frame, for the first twenty-five minutes of the game until the Blues exploded for three goals during a 5:21 span of the second period.
Chris Stewart, who drew an assist on Derek Roy's game-opening ricochet goal in the first period, started the onslaught by firing a shot from a sharp angle past Jacob Markstrom at the 5:21 mark.
A completely unnecessary boarding penalty by Jonathan Huberdeau, one of many Panther forwards who need to remember what scoring a goal is like, led to a Alex Pietrangelo power-play marker just under two minutes later. Markstrom made the initial save on David Backes' shot, but Pietrangelo was able to tip home the rebound from close range to make it 3-0 for St. Louis. Our old pal Jay Bouwmeester also assisted on the goal.
NHL goal-scoring leader Alexander Steen completed the scoring at 10:42 with his 12th of the season. T.J. Oshie picked up an assist with David Backes adding his second helper of the night as well.
After that, the game was over and it was just a matter of seeing if the Cats could prevent Blues goaltender Brian Elliot, who finished with 31 saves, from posting the shutout. They couldn't.
Florida finished up the six-game homestand, which could have been a nice springboard for the rest of the season, with a disappointing 1-3-2 record.
Not much to say about this one that hasn't been said already over the last few weeks, the result was pretty much expected. The Panthers came up with a lot of shots on goal, but once again, failed to score. Markstrom can't really be faulted for three of the goals but the tally by Stewart, that blew open the game, was one that absolutely has to be stopped. You get the picture...
For better or worse, the Panthers get right back it tonight with a game in D.C. against old Southeastern foes, the Washington Capitals. After last night's game, I would expect something better. Veteran players need to be on notice as does this coaching staff, which if I were running things, would be just about out the door right now. The problems with this organization go deeper than that, but that's usually step one when things are going this sour.
The floor is yours for venting... and go!