After a grueling start to the season, four games in six days, and a whole lot of travel, it would seem some fatigue has finally caught up with the Florida Panthers. After a spirited and complete effort in Edmonton the night before, the Cats came out flatter than a pancake against the Vancouver Canucks, allowing five goals in the first period en route to a 7-2 beatdown.
The first strike from the Canucks came early, as Brandon Sutter would score just 1:14 into the first period, and Vancouver would add three more before the ten-minute mark of the first. Sam Montembeault would get the hook after the third goal, although Sergei Bobrovsky wouldn’t fair much better, allowing a goal only a couple minutes after entering the game himself. Head coach Joel Quenneville would give Montembeault a chance to redeem himself, however, and insert him back into the crease at the start of the second period.
The Cats would pull themselves to within three goals as Mike Hoffman scored a power play goal at 12:58 of the second period, giving them a little momentum, but that would be killed off right before second intermission as J.T. Miller would score his second of the game. After that, it was all Canucks the rest of the way.
Not much to say about the performance of the Panthers. This is one the players and coaching staff will look to draw some lessons from, as some of the bad habits of last season came creeping back in as the exhausted Cats struggled to play solid hockey at both ends of the ice. Learn, forget, and move on, because the Colorado Avalanche are waiting in Denver on Wednesday night, and the Panthers will need a significantly better effort to hope to compete with the Avs.
Nucks Misconduct will provide you with the winner’s story, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought about the game in the comments section below. Just be gentle.
- For all that is sacred and holy, please let the coaching staff punish the excessive drop passes with suicide skates for 60 minutes.
- Aleksander Barkov took a hit in the third and hit the ice awkwardly, causing him to skate to the bench in some pain. It looked like a right shoulder or arm issue, something the Cats do not need. Fingers crossed Barkov is alright and it’s nothing serious.
- Frank Vatrano never seems to take a game off. Despite the score he keeps his feet moving, keeps hitting, and never quits on plays. In a very forgettable game, his ever-running motor was memorable.
- Florida’s top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov had a really rough night, not producing much of anything offensively and finishing a -4 for the night. For the Panthers to be a top team in the East, they need to have more consistency from the top guys. Quenneville cut their minutes a bit, perhaps to rest them, or perhaps to send a message.
- Good to see Hoffman pot another goal, even if it was on the man advantage. After starting the season on an absolute tear, he’s cooled off considerably in recent weeks as the Panthers power play has not looked too good. Opponents are keying on him so he isn’t able to get off his one-timer, and he’s had a bit of roster shuffling as well with Vincent Trocheck missing time thanks to injury. Hopefully this jump-starts Hoffman back to his regularly scoring ways.
- Montembeault had some pristine numbers coming into the game, and boy are those soiled now. He did not look ready to play, lackadaisically playing the puck out of the net on the second goal, and just didn’t seem to have the proper compete level or focus. Let’s hope he rebounds in his next start because the Cats will need him to be good this season to spell Bobrovsky.
- Quinn Hughes is the real deal, and Vancouver has a top-flight defenseman for the long term. His decision-making and patience with the puck are noticeable and he rarely turns it over, unlike...
- ... our good buddy Keith Yandle, who had a pretty rough game himself, finishing at a -3 with a few noticeable giveaways. He was not to blame for the half dozen goals Vancouver scored in the first two periods, but you could see him reverting to some of the bad habits the rest of the team did during the game. I’d love to see him start hitting the net on shots, too.