The Florida Panthers will not have to face the St. Louis Blues again this season, and its probably for the best. The Panthers got shutout 4-0 by St. Louis last night in South Florida despite outshooting the Blues 31-23.
Brian Elliot picked up the win for St. Louis, his first of the season. It was his first shutout since April 11, 2013, a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. In net for the Panthers was Jacob Markstrom who allowed four goals 23 shots.
The game wrapped up the Panthers season long six-game home stand. The Panthers went 1-3-2 over the six games bringing their season record to 3-8-2. With just eight points, they are eight points behind the last playoff spot held by the Montreal Canadiens who have 16 points. With the win, the Blues improved to 8-1-2.
The Panthers looked good at times last night and they often controlled the pace of the game against the stingy Blues. The first period was mostly Panthers until Derek Roy broke through with a goal for the Blues with less than five minutes remaining in the period. Things went downhill from there. In the second period the Panthers allowed three goals in a six minute span to fall behind 4-0.
Yesterday I outlined some keys to the game. I said if the Panthers were going to have any chance of winning they had to be spotless on the penalty kill and they had to shut down Alexander Steen. The Panthers did neither of those things as they conceded a power play goal to Alex Pietrangelo and they allowed Steen to score his NHL-leading 12th goal of the season. With the goal, Steen extended his goal streak to six games.
Goaltending again was an issue for the Panthers as Markstrom looked shaky all night. None of the Blues’ goals were particularly impressive especially the goals by Chris Stewart and Steen which came on half chances at best. The Blues got some bounces to go their way and before we knew it, the game was out of reach. Bad bounces aside, Markstrom has to be better in net. I understand that outshooting a team and losing happens from time to time but losing 4-0 when you outshoot a team by a wide margin is tough.
Good thing for the Panthers that these two teams meet only twice a year. In their two match ups, the Blues outscored Florida by a combined 11-0. The struggling Panthers offense only managed nine goals during their six game home stand.
The Panthers are right back at it tonight when they travel to Washington to take on the Capitals.