Groundhog Day may have been last Wednesday, but the Florida Panthers have lived out the same game seemingly all season. You know the routine: The Cats get an early lead, have several chances to strengthen their hold on the game but juuuuuust miss, give up a goal late in a period, then lose the game late in the third. Well, just apply that to Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the St Louis Blues, and you have your recap.
In the blown chances department, David Booth rang a breakaway attempt off the crossbar in the second. On the same shift, a tired Booth gave up the puck to Michal Repik on what could have been a great scoring chance, but he lost the puck and fell at the blue line. In the third, Booth blew past Blues defenseman Erik Johnson to go in netminder Jaroslav Halak but couldn’t put a serious shot on net. A clearly frustrated Dennis Wideman said of the missed chances:
It’s every game, we get scoring chances but we don’t score. We have to score goals to win but, if we can sit here and say they outplayed us and they beat us, that’s different. Vokie played great and then we lose a game on a 4-on-1.
“When you don’t score a whole lot of goals as a team”, Wideman continued, “those one or two mistakes you make in a game always are the spotlight.”
Coach Pete DeBoer said of the missed opportunities:
“We made one mistake and it ended up in the net. I thought they made probably a half dozen mistakes and we couldn’t finish on the other end. That’s the story of the game.”
And it’s pretty much been the story for the entire season. The Panthers have outworked the majority of their opponents this season but it’s been the lack of landing that big knockout punch when they’ve had the chance. It will be curious to see how the Cats respond Thursday at home against the Buffalo Sabres. Another loss, and GM Dale Tallon’s phone might start ringing and not stop for the new few weeks.
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