Florida Panthers Fail to Make it Two in a Row; Fall to DET, 4-3 in O.T.

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 20: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his overtime goal with teammates for the win against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 20, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 20: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his overtime goal with teammates for the win against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on October 20, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After defeating the Stanley Cup champs, the Florida Panthers were heading home to host the Red Wings, looking to string two consecutive wins together.

After the ‘Legacy Saturdays’ celebration for Ed Jovanovski, the puck immediately dropped. The Panthers came storming out of the gates early on, peppering Jimmy Howard with a ton of rubber.

Detroit, on the other hand, also matched the Panthers’ intensity. However, it was the Cats who got on the board first, thanks to Keith Yandle’s snapshot.

Minutes later, Michael Rasmussen and co. found an equalizer, but fortunately enough, the call was overturned. Bob Boughner used his coach’s challenge for goaltender interference, and from what the replay showed, there was absolutely contact.

Things went from bad to worse for the Red Wings as Nick Bjugstad doubled the Panthers’ lead. Right off a won draw from Aleksander Barkov, Bjugstad quickly walked in and fired a shot short side.

Everything seemed fine for the Panthers as they began the second with a two-goal lead, but like the previous second periods in the past, the Panthers just couldn’t protect their lead.

The collapse started with a Detroit 5-on-3 advantage where Dennis Cholowski wristed a clean shot past Michael Hutchinson.

Moments later on the 5-on-4 (second penalty), Thomas Vanek wired a shot past Hutchinson to tie the game at two. This sudden change in events came off two solo shots.

And then… the game really hit rock bottom for the Cats through Dylan Larkin’s goal. Just over a minute and a half past Vanek’s game-tying goal, Larkin gave the Wings their first lead of the night off a 2-on-1 play.

After two periods of play, the Panthers – yet again – blew another lead in the second period, forced to come back in the final twenty minutes.

It took some scratching and clawing but the Cats managed to find an equalizer. With under two left in play, Mike Hoffman came clutch. It was a goal that Howard would’ve loved to have back – but at the same time – it was a timely goal that the Panthers desperately needed.

Heading into overtime with a guaranteed point, the Panthers displayed heavy pressure on the Wings throughout. However, the game was lost over a costly mistake.

Battling one-on-one with Dylan Larkin, Keith Yandle lost possession of the puck. Larkin – who won the battle – quickly fed an open Gustav Nyquist with a pass, springing the Swedish forward on a breakaway.

Needless to say, Nyquist snapped a shot underneath Hutchinson’s blocker, giving the Red Wings their first win of the season.

Who Impressed?

As usual, I have to start with our captain Aleksander Barkov. Like almost every game, Barkov was dominant in all three zones of the ice. With 2 assists on the night, Barkov wasn’t short of any production.

With a goal and an assist by his name, Bjugstad had a solid performance. Even without the goal and assist, Bjugstad was working tirelessly digging pucks out of the corners and setting up his teammates in the slot.

Despite remaining off the scoresheet last night, these two still came out to play. That’s right, I’m talking about Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck who both combined for 10 SOG.

The pucks may not have gone in as they did against Washington, but Huby and Tro were still creating chances.

Who Disappointed?

There’s a lot I can start with but I think it’s better if I cut to the chase. So, who disappointed? Let’s start with the second-period debacle.

For the third consecutive time this season, the Panthers have blown a lead during the second period of play. The Panthers seem to get off to great starts to open the game, but can’t manage to retain their lead after the opening twenty minutes.

This has been the story for the Cats so far, and it’s one of the many reasons why they remain at the bottom of the standings. If Florida can’t figure out how to eliminate these second-period breakdowns, then it’s going to be a long and disappointing season in Sunrise.

Next, I have to call out the abominable power play. Going 0/5 last night on the worst team in the league, the Panthers’ man advantage struggles continue.

At least with Washington, they managed to score a couple, but with Detroit, they could hardly set up in their zone.

I could probably go on a rant all day about the power play, but it’s really not worth it nor necessary. It’s simple, If the Panthers want postseason hockey, they’re going to have to figure out their power play. Plain and simple.

Lastly, like the rest of the defensive core since the start of the season, Keith Yandle’s turnover in overtime is what disappointed me the most.

For the most part through regulation, Yandle was having a strong game. With a goal and an assist, everything was going his way. But that all changed during overtime.

Once a pass reached his stick, Yandle hesitated and was abruptly stripped of the puck. After stripping him of the puck, Larkin sprung Nyquist on a breakaway and the rest was history as they say:

In this situation, all Yandle had to do was either pass to Dadonov (who was beside him) or get the puck in deep. Trying to win a puck battle while flat-footed against one of the fastest players in the league is just the wrong decision to make.

Even if Yandle committed #2 and dumped the puck in while giving up possession (momentarily), the trio could’ve regrouped and regained the puck later – but more importantly – the puck is deep in the opposition’s end which is what you want. That way, you aren’t forced to give up an ill-advised turnover, which leads to plays like these.

Concluding Remarks

Overall, a poor effort from the Cats. They played well in bunches, but not enough to reflect a full sixty-minute effort. And in this league, that’s what it takes to come away with two points.

What’s done is done as they say, as the Panthers cannot afford to dwell on this effort. They must regroup and prepare accordingly to eliminate these mental lapses for the future. Because if they don’t, then much of the results moving forward are going to reflect games like these.

Florida Panthers Pick Up First Victory of the Season. dark. Next

Your Panthers are back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 23 against the New York Rangers at 7 P.M. The first of a three-game road trip.