Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers: Uninspired hockey dooms team early

The Florida Panthers dropped their third straight game after losing to the New Jersey Devils by the score of 6-3. It was a lackluster performance for the Panthers, who look like they are going to get in a heated battle for the second worst record behind the Buffalo Sabres.

Plain and simple the Panthers didn’t come to play in the first period, leaving goaltender Dan Ellis out to dry. Despite allowing six goals, Ellis played a strong game – New Jersey could have easily scored ten without some big saves by him.

Outshot 18-4 in the first period, New Jersey scored one less goal than the total amount of shots the Panthers got on net. It was a particular rough night for the Panthers’ veterans, as Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Fleischmann, and Brian Campbell had rough nights. Campbell play look extremely uninspired, and it wasn’t just in the defensive zone, but it was more noticeable there.

Travis Zajac opened the scoring just 12-seconds into the game, making it known it was going to be a long night for the Panther faithful. Jarmori Jagr’s 24th of the season made it 2-0 not even ten minutes into the game, and before the Panthers fired their fourth shot on net Zajac had his second of the night.

In an act to try and spark his team, Captain Ed Jovanovksi went after Devils’ forward Ryan Carter, throwing off his gloves and taking a swing at the player. He got off lightly with a double minor, but spark the team it did as Dmitry Kulikov scored his first career shorthanded goal, his eighth overall of the season.

Brad Boyes’ 20th of the season less than a minute into the second had the Panthers within one and had momentum on their side. However a Ryne Clowe goal after a turnover by Jovanovski – followed by another bad play by Campbell killed any chances of a comeback.

The Panthers controlled the second period, outshooting the Devils 13-7. Brandon Pirri scored tenth of the season on a redirect from a Dylan Olsen shot.

Jacob Josefson scored the second shorthanded goal of the game, and Zajac buried his 16th of the season for his first career hat trick, as Cory Schneider stopped all 11-shots in relief.

Without time to recollect themselves, the Panthers will take on the New York Islanders Tuesday night, with puck drop at 7 pm ET.

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Tags: Dan Ellis Florida Panthers Travis Zajac

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