Devils Lull Panthers Into Loss.

Dullsville, as the Devils put everyone to sleep last night with their stifling defence.

The following statement(s) have been approved by the young lady of the household, High School Sophmore Ms. Rekas, who suggested to include these remarks in today’s post after hearing me rant after last night’s game.

Need to score your first NHL goal? Play the Panthers.  Need to get your first goal of the year?  Play the Panthers.  Need to stop your losing streak?  Play the Panthers.  Oh, and  do you need to score an empty net goal while you’re two men short with less than five seconds to play?  Play the Panthers.

Yep, that about sums it up as all of the above variables have happened to the Florida Panthers this season.  The New Jersey Devils were far from exciting, but they didn’t need to be as the ofrfensively challenged Panthers could only muster 22 shots on Marty Brodeur.  Not to take anything away form the NHL’s finest netminder however, but I don’t think the game was ever really in jepordy for him.

As dull as this game was, Florida did have a couple quality scoring chances in what was a blah effort.  But sharpshooters we are not, and accuracy is also missing from our bag of tricks, the Panthers missed a couple chances to score.  One play Gregory Campbell (yea I know) seemed to be ready to one time a pass on net, and the puck apparently caught the heel of his stick and sailed into the corner.  Then Rostislav Olesz who was camped in front of the net bobbled a pass and shot under and past a sprawling Martin Brodeur, missing the net. 

So there you have the offensive chances.  Not even a  credit for a shot on goal in those two situations.  Even with a two man advantage in the final 1:23 of the game the Panthers could barely muster much of an attack as the PP (piss poor) was once again stymied.  Prompting Steven Reinprecht to say after the game “We’re obviously not scoring enough”.  Friggin’ brilliant huh!  Tell us something we don’t know.

The Devils got their only goal from Travis Zajac who scored with 90 seconds left in the second period on a shot that I am pretty sure that Tomas Vokoun would love to have back as Zajac shot right through the five hole of Vokoun. Tomas appeared to think he should have had it.  Maybe.  Hard for me to say, but unfortunately, he didn’t, and received no offensive support the rest of the way either.  You kind of just knew that the Devils would shut things down for the final 20 minutes.  A specialty of theirs, which is why they are as good as they are.

The top line of Stevie Wonder, Nathan Horton and Michael Frolik had a very below average night.  They combined for a whopping six shots on goal, but were also a combined MINUS FIVE!  Numbers not to be proud of, but you know, you can’t expect these guys to carry the team all the time can you?  Well I can’t.

Speaking of Stevie, to me he looked tired, slow and as though he was still suffering from his yeast infection lower body injury.  There were many times that he appeared lost or that he just wasn’t giving effort.  Not sure why he even dressed, but in my opinion, he provided nothing last night.  If you’re hurt fine, don’t play. I understand, and would rather you sit one more game, then make yourself worse and then you’re out longer.

Florida remains two points behind the eighth place Islanders who we play tonight in a game that’s a four point swing.  I’ll try to do a quick preview, but make no promises.  Gotta pay the bills you know.  I would expect that Tomas Vokoun plays again even thought its back to back.  It’s a huge game and he’s playing very well.  Clemmensen can play Saturday night against the Leafs.  Which isn’t a game that’s part of my season ticket package, but can you believe that I’m trying to spend more money on this team and look for tickets?

Question for this team and any of my loyal readers.  When will they realize that they must play every game with desperation?

NOTE:  Tonight I’ll be on Rink Side Rants with Buffalo Sabres blogger Tim Redinger at 9:00 pm.  Go over there and tune in as we talk hockey for about 30 minutes!

Thanks for reading.


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Tags: Florida Panthers Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils Tomas Vokoun Travis Zajac

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