I had thought of a few other titles for this post game review, but I’ll leave the snide remarks to you guys and gals. Bottom line on this one is, James Wisniewski the newly acquired defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens scored twice, including the overtime winner. And the special teams of the Florida Panthers failed them. Again.
As has happened many times before, the Panthers had a chance to get to .500 against a team that was struggling, and coming off a loss the night before, but in the end couldn’t get the job done. On top of it, the Panthers squandered a two goal lead on their home ice in front of a sold out crowd. Forget the fact that it was mostly Montreal Fans, it was a perfect opportunity to end the year on a positive note.
Stephen Weiss and Dmitry Kulikov scored the goals for the Panthers as they jumped out to the 2-0 lead early in the second. That was all the offence that would be created as coach Peter DeBoer was not happy with his forwards.
I don’t think the shot total told the story of the game as far as scoring chances,’’ Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. “I thought our forwards as a group didn’t create anything. That was 1 through 12, and you’re not going to win many games when that happens.
There were some other issues that contributed to the loss. Tomas Vokoun again getting his unfair share of pucks thrown at him, tied his season high total of saves by making 45. In the last three games the goaltenders for the Panthers have had to make over 120 stops. Nuts! But Vokoun was also upset at some of the “rookie” type penalties and mistakes that the youngsters had made. Both Mike Santorelli and Evgeny Dadonov, two players recently featured here on this site as turning the corner, took poor penalties that helped create Montreal’s scoring chances.
Topping it off Florida could not covert on six power play chances and a five on three advantage. Boys and girls, that right there is the game. And it’s been the story of the games we have been losing all season, most of them by one goal. Forget the fact that Montreal has the leagues best penalty killing unit, you get six chances and a two man advantage during a game, you have to convert on at least one of those.
David Neal covering the game for George Richards at the Miami Herald talks about the wasted chances by Florida. Harvey Fialkov from the Sun Sentinel tells us how flat the Panthers were, especially in the first period.
Alex Auld the former Florida Panther, now turned into a journeyman backup made his fourth start of the season, and got the victory for Montreal. He didn’t have to work hard as he stopped only 20 shots on the night.
The TSN boxscore.
The recurring problems that need fixing are the following:
* Better starts to games, especially at home. This is a preparation problem.
* Cut down the shots against. You cannot ask your goaltender’s to make 40 plus saves every night.
* Figure out a way to do something with this awful power play. More creativity, more shots, better puck control, a body in front of the net. Etc, etc. This one area alone has cost us at least 5 victories. That’s ten points for those of you running for a calculator.
* Learn how to hold the lead. Better yet, learn how to step on the gas and get that killer instinct. A 2-0 lead is the most unsafe lead in hockey. But when it’s in your building, against a tired team on the last game of a seven game road trip, where they are 1-5, in front of a sellout crowd, c’mon. That should be enough motivation for anyone!
Steven Reinprecht was placed on waivers shortly before the start of the game. Rhino who is the second year of a 3 year deal will most likely clear waivers and then be sent to Rochester. A signing that has not worked out, as Rhino has 48 points in 111 games for Florida, but has been digressing since his arrival.
Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak and Rusty Olesz all dressed and played in last nights game. They have all been out with injuries and it showed. The trio were ineffective and not in game shape. In one of the biggest games of the season playing all three might have been a mistake. Another recurring problem.
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