The Florida Panthers dropped their last game before the Olympic Break, allowing five goals in a 5-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
After a lack luster performance in their previous game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Panthers’ poor first period doomed them for the rest of the game, falling behind 3-1 after the first frame.
Goals from Riley Nash, Alexander Semin, and Brett Bellemore, followed by a marker by Jiri Tlusty chased Tim Thomas who played on consecutive nights.
The Panthers had chances, plenty of them but Hurricanes’ goaltender Anton Khudobin showed why he is quite possibly the biggest bargain in the entire league (signed for 800k for one year) stopping 34-pucks.
Turnovers, and bad defensive positioning put the Panthers down 2-0 real quick, as Nash scored his eighth of the season, followed by Semin’s 14th less than 90-seconds later. Before the flood gates could be opened all the way, Nick Bjugstad scored his 13th of the season, with Dylan Olsen and Scottie Upshall getting the assist.
Bellemore’s shot from the point cancelled out the comeback attempt, putting the ‘Canes up 3-1 before Tlusty made it 4-1 in the second period.
Florida threw 25-shots at Khudobin over the last two periods, and was stone walled each time. The Bjugstad-Huberdeau-Upshall line provided chance after chance, even starting a few offensive charges as the team followed suit.
The Panthers resume play with a game against the Washington Capitals, which will take place February 27. Until then, just Alexsander Barkov and Tomas Kopecky will be the only members of the parent club (AHL San Antonio continues play) to continue to play over the break as they represent their respective countries.
Anthony Murphy is the Editor of The Rat Trick. You can follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.