Jacob Markstrom. Source: Miami Herald

Devils Ruin Jacob Markstrom's Debut.

As I mentioned earlier in my morning post, Florida Panther goalie of the future, Jacob Markstrom was welcomed into the NHL by the New Jersey Devils, as he came on in relief of starter Scott Clemmensen.  I can’t say that Markstrom did that badly with a patched up defence in front of him.  What did we really expect?

The Panthers went into new jersey to face a surging and proud Devils team that wasn’t going to make life easy for these Cats.  Florida coming off a 2-1 shoot out loss on Friday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Panthers have been spiralling no matter what anyone says.  Four losses in a row, and three of those could have been won.  Sunday however was not the case.

New Jersey took an early lead when Ilya Kovalchuk scored only his 14th goal of the season, and then with two seconds remaining in the first Scott Clemmensen misplayed a puck in front of the net and Jason Arnott stuffed it home.  The Devils led 2-0 going into the second.

At that point Peter DeBoer, coach of the Panthers had seen enough of Clemmensen and inserted Markstrom in relief.  His debut started quietly as there were no shots fired at him for about 11 minutes.  The Panthers during that time cut the lead in half on a beautiful shot from Shawn Matthias making it 2-1 New Jersey.  That was as close as the game got.

Markstrom steered away the first two shots he faced, but Brian Rolston who has one of the best shots in the league put one past the youngster and it was downhill from there.  The Devils led 4-1 with a goal by Patrik Elias until Marty Reasoner knocked in a loose puck at the five minute mark of the third, but the Devils hung on and added an empty netter to make the final 5-2.

Here’s the TSN boxscore.

I tried to watch as well as pay attention to the Bears NFC Championship game, so my attention to detail on this one was rather slim.  These details I have been able to come up with:

With the offence as challenged as it is, dressing seven defenceman and scratching a healthy forward (Darcy Hordichuk) doesn’t make sense to me.  now before you rant all over that, I’m not looking for goals from Darcy, I’m looking for four lines to be played so our top three aren’t exhausted.  Plus if Jason Garrison isn’t 100%, then don’t play him.  Groin and hamstring injuries can linger for a long time.

For all the depth we felt we have, the injuries that have piled up indicates we may not be as deep as we thought.  Missing two defensemen, McCabe and Kulikov hurts yes.  Plus we’re playing a third that has limited mobility, and an young goaltender that is thrown into the fire spells trouble.

I don’t recall hearing the name Stephen Weiss very much.  Invisible, benched, or ineffective I can’t say.  Probably a combination of the three, but this player needs to step up and get some goals in clutch situations.

I’m not going to make any excuses for where the Panthers are in the standings at this point of the season.  Things should be obvious though.  The season is beginning to get away and losing four games in a row isn’t anything to be happy with.  Argue all you want that points in 6 of the last 7 games are nice, but it’s not enough.

I know the players in the room aren’t happy and are frustrated.  This is a different team than we’ve seen in the past.  Two more games before the All-Star break and three more on the road after that.  We’ll know a lot more about the future of the season when these next games are done.

Thanks for reading.

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Tags: Florida Panthers Ilya Kovalchuk Jacob Markstrom Jason Arnott New Jersey Devils Scott Clemmensen

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