After a tough loss to Winnipeg to kick off their four-game home stand, Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck was heard in the locker room saying that, “good teams don’t lose two in a row.”
Trocheck and his teammates made sure that was the case.
On Saturday, the Panthers battled back from a deficit to top the New York Rangers 4-3 in regulation, getting back into the win column and adding two more points to the bank. The Cats scored twice on the power play and Sergei Bobrovsky and company shut down the Rangers in the third as they attempted to mount a comeback late in the game.
The ice felt tilted the Panthers way most of the game, with only a few lax defensive plays and a slow start to the second period being the only blemishes on an otherwise good effort. Florida still needs to work on cleaning up those moments each and every game, and I’m sure there will be some video review of the goals allowed, as two of the three were preventable.
The Philadelphia Flyers roll into Sunrise next, facing off against the Panthers on Tuesday evening. The Flyers have been hot as of late, going 6-1-3 in their last ten games, vaulting them up into a wild card playoff spot. The Cats can not afford to take any game lightly, with this upcoming match-up being no exception.
Check out Blue Shirt Banter for some New York hot takes, and hit up the comments as always. Until Tuesday...
- At this point in the season, the Panthers have a few players you could consider the team MVP, but for me the nod has to go to Jonathan Huberdeau. Every time he’s on the ice he’s driving play, setting up chance after chance and taking advantage of quite a few of his own. At the time this was written, he was tied for fourth in the NHL in scoring, well over a point per game pace. He’s doing everything asked of him so far and has taken his game to another level.
- As they have been doing, the Cats rolled four lines all game, with the top line just utterly dominating in terms of possession. This team’s balanced attack continues to round into form and the depth scoring continues to show up, with Brett Connolly and Mike Hoffman denting the twine against the Rangers.
- He doesn’t get mentioned much, but Colton Sceviour has quietly been an effective bottom-line winger and penalty killer so far this season. He’s been superb when the Panthers are down a man, and was a big part of a huge penalty kill late in the third period. He’s not going to light up the score sheet but he’s a pretty important part of the bottom six for Florida.
- Mike Matheson did not have his best game, and although his improvement this season has been notable, at times he has regressed to some of the bad habits he’s become known for to Panther fans. Against the Rangers, he was a turnover machine, often opting to take ill-advised passes or fiddle with the puck at the blue line rather than make the simple plays that kept him out of trouble so far this season. Hopefully Matheson can shore that up because anything less will earn him less minutes.
- Bobrovsky just doesn’t quite look sharp enough yet. His angles look off a bit and he’s playing kind of small in net at times. He’s still making a ton of big saves, but the one or two he lets in every game that we’ve come to expect are making victories that much harder to come by. I’m not sure if he needs more rest or just needs more minutes to work through it, but hopefully he can figure it out soon.
- The win marked the 900th career win for head coach Joel Quenneville. Congrats to him and here’s to hoping that many more come for coach Q, especially as coach of the Panthers.