The Florida Panthers put up little fight in a poorly played 5-1 Game 4 loss to the New York Islanders. Florida, gifted a spot into the expanded 24-team postseason format, failed to end a playoff drought that dates all the way back to 1996.
After a slow start from the team in front of him, Sergei Bobrovsky allowed a weak backhand goal to Anthony Beauvillier at the 11:32 mark that put the team in a hole that it could not get out of. Bobrovsky made some really good saves throughout this one, but it wouldn’t be enough.
Beauvillier one-timed a Mathew Barzal pass home 3:38 later to the Islanders up by two and the Cats behind the ball.
With the game close to getting out of hand, Jordan Eberle took a hooking minor on Keith Yandle that in the period.
Jonathan Huberdeau took a pass from Aleksander Barkov and sent a pretty cross-ice feed to Mike Hoffman, who fired it past Semyon Varlamov to give the Cats a faint glimmer of hope.
MacKenzie Weegar got called for tripping sixteen seconds later to cancel out any momentum from the Hoffman goal.
A too many men on the ice penalty put the Panthers two back again when Brock Nelson notched his second of the series just fourteen seconds into the ensuing power play.
The third period saw Barkov take a split second too long to put the puck into an empty and instead Ryan Pulock got the shot block; Barzal got loose and beat Bobrovsky at 10:34 to all but end it, and then Huberdeau fittingly capped the frustrating day off by fumbling the puck by his own goal, allowing Jean-Gabriel Pageau to complete the scoring with an empty-netter.
So, the Islanders advance to the Round of 16 and the Cats head home from the Toronto bubble. After losing Game 1 of the series, the Panthers only had a 12.5% chance of advancing. Now, they have a 12.5% of getting the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Florida played the Isles a total of seven times this season and lost six of them, managing to score just 11 goals combined. The Cats scored just three goals at even-strength in the four game series.
The internet is ablaze with speculation the general manager Dale Tallon is a goner. After watching the Panthers meander their way through this low-intensity series, it’s plain to see big changes are needed.
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