Oct 10, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone (12) shoots the puck as Florida Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) makes a save during the second period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Closing Thoughts: Florida Panthers Fall 7-2

The Florida Panthers ended a forgettable road trip last night with a 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The loss gives the Panthers a 1-3-0 record to start the season.

Not much went right for the Panthers last night; Jacob Markstrom stopped 18 of 24 shots before giving way to Scott Clemmensen, the Panthers only managed 21 shots on opposing goaltender Ben Bishop, they gave up two power play goals and one shorthanded.

Brad Boyes scored his second goal in as many nights. The power play goal was the Panthers first of the season and Boyes was assisted by Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann. Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period on a beautiful deke. The goal was his first of the season and he was assisted by Scott Gomez and Kris Versteeg.

Here are some closing thoughts from the game:

Getting Out Of Hand

Last night was the second time during the Panthers four game road trip that the team allowed seven goals. Those are the kind of games that should happen once, maybe twice a season; not twice a road trip. As a result of those games, the Panthers defensive stats look ugly. Surprisingly enough, their 4.5 goals allowed per game is not the worst in the league, the Oilers (4.75) and Rangers (5.0) have a slight edge in defensive futility.

The Panther’s goalies have similarly unsightly numbers. Take a look:

Tim Thomas GAA:5.05  SV%: .850

Jacob Markstrom: 3.93 SV% .855

The Panthers have had to make a mid-game goalie change in three straight games. Granted one of those was because of Thomas’ injury, having to pull your goalie mid-game is not something that usually correlates to winning games.

Deja Vu

During the off-season, the Panthers talked about putting last year behind them but so far the start of this season has been an exact replica of the team’s start in 2012-13.

The Panthers started last season with an opening night win and then proceeded to go on a five game losing streak. That losing streak was characterized by poor goaltending play and an inability to establish anything offensively. The streak included the Panthers getting shut out and a 7-1 loss to the Flyers.

Four games into this season, not much has changed. Florida followed up a win with three losses including two ugly blowouts. Their losing streak, currently at three, could easily stretch to five and beyond. The Panthers play their home opener tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins and follow that up with a Sunday matinee against the Kings.

The big difference between last year and this year so far has been, that the Panthers have stayed healthy in the early going this season. Not that it has done them much good.

Johnny Hockey

Those that stuck around until the third period were rewarded when Jonathan Huberdeau turned a Scott Gomez breakout pass into a one-on-one with Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. As Huberdeau is rapidly proving, there are few better players when it comes to breakaways, and in this case, Huberdeau made Bishop look silly with a nice deke in close that looked almost nonchalant it was so smooth.

The Panthers have little time to nurse their wounds as the team is right back at it tonight with their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 p.m. ET.

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Tags: Florida Panthers Jonathan Huberdeau Tampa Bay Lightning

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