A game that had a lot of scoring chances for both sides, end to end action, lots of shots, and some rather acrobatic saves by both goaltenders, resulted in a shootout loss at home for the Florida Panthers. It was a game that frankly I thought the Panthers could have won had they maintained the pressure and uptempo play of the first two periods. However it was the same old story as once again the “Ghost of Uncle Jack” reared it’s ugly head in the third period as “Prevent D” took over.
Here’s a quote from head coach Peter DeBoer: “It’s kind of like Groundhog Day,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said with a laugh as he stepped to the podium. “It’s disappointing to lose. We played a good game. With the lineup we have, that’s how we have to play. We limited their chances.”
Ok, but how much longer is this going to be acceptable. Look I went into this game actually trying to be positive and hopeful, as I have been accused of sometimes being too negative. When I started writing this blog in August, I openly admitted that I will call it as I see it, and I’m not going to change. That being said, this team is what it is. Offensively challenged, and lacking confidence as shown by not being able to “close” the deal. The Panthers have lost eight of their last nine games, they have blown four leads in the third period in the last five games and since November 16th they have lost 5 of 8 third period leads.
Now, c’mon people, how am I or how are you supposed to be positive about that?
I commend DeBoer for keeping his head on straight, but maybe it’s time for him to start tossing some “barbs”. I mean this is a results oriented business. And he’s not getting the results.
The game was scoreless after an entertaining first period which saw the Panthers outshoot Edmonton 16-7 as Oiler goalie Jeff Deslauriers kept the Panthers off the board. The teams each exchanged penalties during the first period as well, but neither team scored. During the second as both teams played a little more open, the Oilers took the lead with Shawn Horcoff getting a power play goal with Rusty in the box for tripping. About three minutes later St. Dominic tied the game at one on a really silly shot that was taken from behind the net and found it’s way across the line.
To open the third St. Dominic scored again at 1:25, and then you could feel the change, almost like a cold front coming in as the Cats when into “Uncle Jack D”. At 4:33 Dustin Penner tied it up, and from that point on you just didn’t have a good feeling. At least I didn’t. The Oilers kept the pressure on while the Panthers just wanted the period to be over and get a point.
The game moved to overtime and thanks to the referees it certainly contained some drama as Captain Bryan McCabe was called for a rather questionnable hooking penalty midway through. The Cats killed it off and the shootout was to follow.
Another questionnable trio was set up for Florida as they went with Rhino, TLW and Olesz. Where was St. Dominic who had scored two goals in the game? Thought for sure we would have seen him in the top three, but maybe that’s why I’m not behind the bench. Then again we lost the shootout so……….
Rusty did score on his traditional backhand move that everyone in the NHL has seen, except for Edmonton. In the end though it was Edmonton who prevailed as Robert Nilsson and Shawn Horcoff each beat goaltender Tomas Vokoun for their third road win in a row. Another wasted effort for Vokoun as he stopped 26 of 28 shots during regulation and overtime.
Overall there were some good things, but the Panthers are not being rewarded for them. It’s amazing how hard that they have to work to get their goals. It’s never amazes me though that it’s just as easy for them to be on the short end of the score. Yes, a solid effort, but good just isn’t good enough. No cliche’s from me. Just want results and we’re not getting them.
The week is not going to be easy with a three game road trip starting in Columbus on Wednesday.
Congratulations to Radek Dvorak who played last night in his 1,000 NHL game.
Thanks for reading.