The effort was somewhat better, but the Florida Panthers still managed to send the meager crowd of 7,311 (announced) souls at the BB&T Center home disappointed. Clarke MacArthur scored a second period power-play goal, after being sprung past Erik Gudbranson by a nifty Kyle Turris pass, to give the Ottawa Senators a 1-0 win.
Former Florida netminder Craig Anderson continued his mastery of his old team with his first win and shutout of the season. Anderson stopped all 30 shots he faced.
After getting off to a slow start, the Panthers had their chances. Nick Bjugstad was the only who could beat Anderson but his shot caught iron. Brad Boyes found himself all alone in front of the Ottawa net, but in a microcosm of the brief Gerard Gallant era, failed to even get a shot off.
Roberto Luongo bounced back from Saturday's night rough outing against the Devils, stopping 22 of the 23 shots he faced, including a couple of dandy saves late in the game, giving his team a chance to get the equalizer right up until the final buzzer.
The Panthers penalty kill showed signs of improvement, despite giving up the game's only game, by killing off 4 of 5 Ottawa opportunities. The woeful power play continued to help cost the team points by going 0 for 3.
I know last night's attendance was and is going to be a juicy topic in the hockey world and on social media, etc., but I still feel South Florida has the potential to be a viable hockey market and maybe even more than that. This is what years and years of icing a sub par product and grinding your fan base into dust gets you, and deservedly so. Hopefully, this is a wake up call to everyone associated with this organization. You reap what you sow, and right now you're planting in some very poisoned ground.
The Panthers are on the road for their next four games, starting Friday night in Buffalo. They need to use the next couple of days to get their systems straight and figure out a way to return home with some wins under their belt and give whatever fans they have left something resembling a reason to come out and pay to watch them play.
Odds & Ends
- Craig Anderson raised his career record against the Panthers to 11-2-1. Talk about having a team's number.
- Jimmy Hayes made his season debut and lead the Cats with four shots on goal. Hayes also had 3 hits and showed some good hustle.
- Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson logged a game-high 27:23 of ice time and picked up the second helper on MacArthur's goal.
- Tough night for Nick Bjugstad. In addition to hitting the post, he also took two needless penalties. Bjugstad and fellow sophomore center Aleksander Barkov are still looking for their first points of the season.
- Ottawa finished their season-opening, three-game road trip 2-1. They will finally get to play host Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
- Rookie defender Aaron Ekblad had another solid outing, logging 23:34 TOI and finishing with 2 shots and 4 hits. After three games, there is nothing to suggest he will be returning to the OHL.
- So far, Derek MacKenzie looks like he might be the cream of Florida's free agent crop. He scored the only goal against New Jersey and led the team with 7 hits last night. More players need to display the kind of effort MacKenzie is giving.
- For more on last night's yawner, pay a visit to our metallic friends over at Silver Seven.