Florida Panthers Drop Three Straight; Fall to Canucks, 3-2

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 13: Goaltender Anders Nilsson #31 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net with the help of teammate Bo Horvat #53 against Troy Brouwer #22 of the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 13, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 13: Goaltender Anders Nilsson #31 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net with the help of teammate Bo Horvat #53 against Troy Brouwer #22 of the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 13, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After dropping their last three games, the Florida Panthers were looking to get back on track with a win against the Vancouver Canucks.

As apart of ‘Legacy Saturdays,’ the Cats honored goaltender Roberto Luongo for competing in 1,000 career NHL games. In celebration of this milestone, Luongo was presented with a few gifts.

Starting with Shane Doan and ending with teammates Vincent Trocheck and Keith Yandle, Luongo was featured with an abundance of hardware. Part of that hardware included a golden goalie stick which GM Dale Tallon gave on behalf of the organization.

After his video tribute and gift presentation, it was time for puck drop!

As soon as the puck dropped, the Cats came storming out the gates with loads of energy. The Canucks were also prepared, coming out with their sets of bursts.

The Panthers had three power plays throughout the first but failed to cash in on a single one. The Canucks, on the other hand, had a couple themselves. But like the Panthers, they couldn’t find the back of the net.

Possibly the best chance of the period came when Denis Malgin was denied in front. Nick Bjugstad fed the open Swiss with a pass, followed by a quick snapshot which resulted in Nilsson stoning Malgin cold.

After 20 minutes of play, either team failed to break the deadlock.

But the second period offered a different result. Six and a half minutes in and Jonathan Huberdeau records his first of the season.

Vincent Trocheck breaks into Vancouver’s zone and throws a shot on goal. Trailing closely behind, Huberdeau taps in the loose puck to give the Panthers a one-goal lead.

Unfortunately, though, it didn’t take long for the Canucks to equalize. On their fourth man advantage of the night, Elias Pettersson rips a shot over Reimer’s shoulder to tie the game at one.

Moments later, Vinnie Trocheck regained the Panthers’ lead, sniping a shot past Anders Nilsson just after Pouliot’s penalty expired.

Things looked all good for the Cats, as they were expecting to leave period #2 with a one-goal advantage. Although, the Canucks had other plans and were given a penalty shot from Bogdan Kiselevich’s blunder.

Antoine Roussel stepped up to the plate and slotted a goal past James Reimer, leveling the game at two.

Through 40 minutes, Florida and Vancouver were once again tied, but this time there were goals by their names.

Much like the second, Vancouver turned on the jets and really pressed play on Florida. The Cats were finding it hard to navigate around their opposition, as the Canucks’ trap was working successfully.

Frustrating the Panthers up front, Bo Horvat and co. countered the other way. On a 2-on-1 play, Sven Baertschi fed Bo Horvat a beautiful cross-crease pass, which Horvat tapped in to give the Canucks their first lead of the game.

The Panthers fought hard to pull off a comeback, but their fighting wasn’t enough. Horvat and his squad would hang on to grab a 3-2 victory.

Who Impressed?

After spending a whopping five minutes thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one from the Panthers impressed me in last night’s match.

Instead, I’ll turn to their opponent’s defense, which really had a heck of a night. They weren’t fancy or flashy by any means – but most importantly – they got the job done.

What really impressed me was their ability to block shots, which was really frustrating to watch as a Panther fan. Throughout their entire lineup, the Canucks blocked a total of 23 shots, which god knows how many were on the end of Hoffman’s shots.

Who Disappointed?

Where do I even start? I know… the abysmal power play! The man advantage yet again was a no-show on the Panthers’ end, as the Cats went a total of 0/5 with a man up.

Despite some tweaks on the two units, the same problems were occurring: lack of movement and failure to set up in the opposition’s end.

No matter how much talent you have on a unit, it means nothing unless you can set up and cause movement in front of goal. The power play has shown none of that – and in result – it’s batting 0/12 through three games of play.

Who’s next? For me, it’s Mark Pysyk. Pysyk’s defensive awareness has been awful, and it’s partially what caused Horvat’s game-winner. Instead of marking and focusing on his man, Pysyk is caught puck watching. And needless to say, the rest was history…

Finally, I could probably go on for hours with who disappointed in this performance, but next up in line has to be defenseman Mike Matheson.

Also a culprit on Horvat’s winner, I won’t even get into that. Instead, let’s look at his play against forward Elias Pettersson.

Pettersson, who’s absolutely killing it with his play as of late, made Matheson look like a fool on this play. Turning him inside out, Matheson decides to get Pettersson back along the boards behind the net.

Once the puck reaches Pettersson behind the net, Matheson aggressively knocks Elias off the puck and bodies him hard into the boards. As he bodies him into the boards, Matheson immediately slams Pettersson down to the ice in a body slam-like manner.

While some may say that the initial body check was clean, it was the body slam at the end that was unnecessary on Matheson’s part.

It’s stuff like this which really exposes Matheson’s game and makes his team look bad in the process. For the sake of Matheson and his play, let’s hope that a performance like this doesn’t occur anytime in the foreseeable future.

Closing Remarks

There’s really not much to say, the Canucks were absolutely the better team in this one. Their commitment to clog the neutral zone and block shots were worthy of the two points.

For the Panthers, their power play can’t continue to go down this road. 0/12 in three games is just plain unacceptable from this group of players. With the talent they possess, the man advantage should’ve already produced six-seven goals by now.

Next. Vincent Trocheck Will Hit the 35-Goal Mark. dark

What’s done is done, and the Panthers can’t afford to dwell on this one. Fortunately enough, it’s still early on in the year that the Cats can turn this thing around. Your Panthers are back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 16 against the Philadelphia Flyers @ 7 P.M.