Devils Spoil Panthers Home Opener

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If you want excuses, don’t look here.  If you want sympathy you can look it up in the dictionary.  If you want reasons, keep reading.   Now, my brother in law may have caused last nights loss with his usual jinx comment, indicating that the Panthers would start a winning streak tonight.  I will keep his identity confidential for obvious security reasons, but I don’t blame him, although I could.  The New Jersey Devils handed the Florida Panthers their third loss in a row beating the Panthers with a power play goal by forward David Clarkson.  Final score 3-2, and ladies and gents, boys and girls, it really wasn’t that close.

The Panthers who must learn to stop giving up boatloads of shots were outshot 41-16.  Digest this for a minute.  In the first period the Panthers had 4 shots.  Granted they were killing a couple penalties and had a rough time getting into the flow, but the Devils managed 16.  In the last minute of the game the Cats threw 5 shots at Martin Brodeur, so what the hell  happened the rest of the game?   Here are your reasons:

Not enough time in the offensive zone.  Too often and I have seen it alot, the Panthers cannot maintain time in the opponents end.  Typically due to a pass back towards the blue line, or across ice that gets intercepted, causes an odd man rush, instead of putting the puck deep or behind the net allowing the forwards to work in the zone.

Lack of scoring chances created on the Power Play:  Soon to be called the powerless play, the Panthers were 0-15 on the power play before Stephen Weiss meandered up ice and shot top shelf above Brodeur’s glove to tie the game at 2.  Besides that though, typically on each rush into the zone, the Panthers managed one shot, had no rebounds, and the puck was cleared out of the zone, forcing them to start over.

Lazy penalties:  You are going to see alot of this from this team.  They are either out of position, or too tired, or just not smart enough, and they probably lead the league in hooking, holding and tripping penalties.  The home town announcers say, jet lag still exists from the Finland trip.  You’ll also hear about the fact that they were playing back to back games and that after Friday’s shellacking in Carolina, they arrived in Florida after midnight.  I’m not buying it and it’s just an excuse.   They had no games this week before Friday.  That’s four days off, or at least not playing.  Knowing that you were on a world wind tour, don’t you think you could have adjusted yourself and prepared alittle better?

No one stood out:  Certain players are struggling.  Booth, Frolik who had 3 penalties, Horton, have been virtually invisible.  On defense, the coverage needs to be better, and they continue to struggle getting the puck out of the zone.  Bryan Allen was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons for his knee apparently, and Jason Garrison was called up to take his place.  Other than  Bryan McCabe taking a few shots from the point, no defencemen did anything that was noteworthy.

So, there you have it.  Not much has changed.  Alot of people thought that the Carolina beating would end up being a good thing, and that the Panthers would learn a lesson.  Not so apparently.  The game started out fairly well with the Panthers applying pressure, but once the merry go round to the penalty box began, they couldn’t get the momentum back.  With the Devils still leading in the third, and even after the Panthers tied it up, they just kept coming and applying pressure, while the Panthers were playing as though they were protecting a three goal lead.

Head coach Peter DeBoer indicated that a slow start this season was not an option, and that the Panthers will need to get going quickly.  Well, after losing three in a row, they need to find some answers, and some players who actually can give an effort every night.  Fatigue, injuries, travel, flu, all these things add up and can affect play.  I get it.  Honestly, we’ve been hearing this crap for eight years. 

Maybe we just need some better players!

Cheers.