After last nights embarassing loss to the NHL’s worst team Columbus Blue Jackets, Panther nation is wondering what is going on? Although the Panthers have gotten points in 10 of the last 12 games and their record over there last 10 games is 5-2-3…. many fans know that the Panthers could have done better. The OT/SO record has been horrible of late after a stretch of about 15 games where no OT was needed at all. As Vince Lombardi would say? What the hell is going on out here.
Where do we even begin? Well, I’ll try to be a little positive. The Panthers have been able to get 3 points in their last 3 games, but and this is a big but, it should be more. Playing Minnesota and Columbus on back to back nights, one would’ve hoped for more than just 1 point between those two games. Albeit, it was back to back, but still… it’s the last day of March and we are still scratching our heads? The Panthers can’t just walk into the playoffs anymore. The Capitals are right on their tails and if the Capitals win tonight, they could be 2 points behind the Panthers by the time the Panthers head back home for the finals 3 games.
Where have Shawn Matthias, Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenhiem, Kris Versteeg and many others gone? Are they planning their golfing trips already? What we have seen the last three games is not Panthers hockey. Personally, I just don’t see us going anywhere right now. We can’t score. I don’t know what it is… yes we’ve won games by slim margins but it’s not convincing me that this team can make a run in the playoffs. I mean they just got outscored 7-3 by Minnesota and Columbus. Want to know how many times the Panthers have scored more than 3 goals in a game this month? 3 times out of 16 games. Shootout goals, don’t count, so yes they beat Montreal 3-2 but the 3rd goal counts as a SO win. Doesn’t count in my book. During the month of March, the Panthers are only averaging 1.93 goals a game. Luckily, Scott Clemmensen and Jose Theodore have kept us above water this entire month. Would it not have been for their stellar play, we would probably be thinking about next year right now.
With 4 games remaining in the regular season, can the Panthers hold on to the 3rd seed in the East? Another question would be, can the Panthers even clinch a playoff berth? Buffalo has climbed a mountain and have now got their eyes set on a spot. An under rated win by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Sabres last night surely helped the Panthers big time. It’s no gimme if you’re a Panther fan right now. With the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow, who have been below average of late, can the Panthers silence the critics with a tremendous road win in Detroit, who have only 6 regulation losses at home? Here is a thought. Maybe the Red Wings are just on cruise control and would rather fall to the 6th seed in the conference so they would not have to face Nashville in the first round, and would instead have to play either Los Angeles, Dallas Stars, Phoenix Coyotes or San Jose Sharks, who are all battling for the division crown in the Pacific Division. Maybe? It’s just a thought. I would certainly rather play Dallas in the first round instead of Nashville. Who knows. But anyway, the Panthers have to go into tomorrow’s game as if it’s a playoff game. They have to think that every game from now on is a playoff game. Kris Versteeg was probably the best Panther last night with his hustle, and with him trying to create scoring chances, so hopefully tomorrow he can get on the score sheet for the first time since being injured.
They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well it’s time to get going and get a win tomorrow afternoon. Play like it’s desperation time. The way I see it. The Panthers have to get at least 4 points for at least get a spot. The Capitals currently have 86 and the most they can get is 94, if they win the rest of their games. There is not much more to say, other then it’s just about winning.
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