March 23 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison (52) celebrates his second period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Panthers Need To Look At The Beginning To Find Success.

Jason Garrison’s “howitzer” slap shot, the instant chemistry of the Weiss, Fleischmann, Versteeg line, and wicked one timers; all of this led the Panthers to win 6 of the 11 games they played this past October. This was their best start since they had last made the playoffs, and an incredible foreshadow to their recent return. The Panthers are spending this week preparing to face the New Jersey Devils on Friday, a team coached by former Panthers bench presence Peter Deboer. If the Panthers blend their previous successful strategies into the current repertoire, they are sure to see results.

Jason Garrison was a undrafted defenseman, who’s book read; “strong defensive abilities and average offensive output.” An offseason of hard work and a new defensive partner changed all of that, for then, now; and ever. From his monstrous shot from the point to a crafty deflection made while going to the net. The puck off his stick has deflected for assists, chimed off bars, broke glass; and found the back of the net more than any Panthers D-man in the history of the franchise. While it became more difficult to pull off as teams caught on, it was certainly not defended to the point it was no longer a viable option. The Panthers will need to get to the front of the net, block Martin Broduer‘s line of sight, and send pucks his way. Even if they don’t find the back of the net immediately, there will be a good chance to bury a rebound. With Tomas Kopecky in front of Broduer, and Brian Campbell serving up a batting practice pitch to Jason Garrison; the Panthers can do no wrong.

The recently reunited line of Stephen Weiss, Tomas Fleischmann, and Kris Versteeg was on fire through the first half of the season, and now that they are together again; they must focus on the attributes that made them so successful. Kris Versteeg has an accurate shot and erratic deke that make him dangerous when there is open ice, and the same with Tomas Fleischmann. Stephen Weiss pounces on rebounds, makes creative plays, and take pride in his defensive traits as well. This all adds to options, strategies they can put together to score goals. What has worked for them all season, is quick puck movement, especially on the power play. Get the defense commit to someone and then find the open man. Deception will essential in beating a tight checking team such as the New Jersey Devils.

The Panther most notable for his one-timer is, of course, Jason Garrison. However, there was a time the Panthers frequently rose their sticks to the air on the back swing. Kris Versteeg, Mikael Samuelsson, and Tomas Kopecky among others have been known to slap a moving puck. Versteeg is the best example, cross ice on the powerplay, he is extremely dangerous. The one timer can’t always be counted on to be accurate, but it can be stunning. That’s what the Panthers need in the playoffs, the ability to stun, surprise, and sufficate.

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Tags: Brian Campbell Florida Panthers Jason Garrison Kris Versteeg Mikael Samuelsson New Jersey Devils Stephen Weiss Tomas Fleischmann

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