The West Coast Scoring Extravaganza is over, and the Panthers are back home in the roomy confines of the BB&T Center tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators. Florida is sitting on a three-game losing streak and having managed to only score three goals in their last three games, look for the Panthers to try and push the offensive side of things a bit more against the Sens. Florida should be seeing Ed Jovanovski, Quinton Howden and Jesse Winchester back in the lineup tonight, which should give the Cats a bit more grit and speed up front. That said, expect the Sens to respond with a strong effort of their own, as Ottawa looks to gain ground on the final wildcard spot in the east. They're currently nine points back with a pair of games in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs, who sit at 80 points (as does Detroit).
The Panthers really need to try and put forth a solid effort the rest of the way for the sake of the youth movement as the constant losses and demoralizing defeats may start to take a permanent toll on the confidence and attitudes of these young guys. Yes, it's obvious they're playing in a very difficult situation, and yes there is change a'comin in the near future, but for right now these players need to taste that winsauce a lot more often. The team needs to tighten up defensively for that to happen and help out Roberto Luongo and Dan Ellis way more than they have been. But what's even more important is that the forwards start generating constant offensive zone pressure and puck control. Your defense and goaltending can only take you so far, and let's face it: you have to score to win.
Puck drop is a little after 7:30 PM EST, so we'll see you in the LBC GameThread, you punks. Silver Seven will give you all the toothless Chris Neil grins you can handle, so make sure you stop by and order some wallet-sized prints for your loved ones.