Florida Panthers: Second Periods Remain the Death of this Team

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: at Madison Square Garden on October 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: at Madison Square Garden on October 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

After squandering their fourth consecutive second-period lead, it seems like the Florida Panthers just can’t get their play in check.

Instead of breaking down the entire game (like I usually do), I thought of mixing it up for this time around. At this current moment, it’s best that we discuss a glaring issue: second periods.

Since the start of the season, the Panthers have performed poorly during the second period of play. Usually, they come out buzzing to start the first – but come the second – they lay an egg once a goal is conceded.

Their particular play from the 20-40 minute mark has resulted in a 1-3-3 start. Furthermore, after the game against the Rangers, the Cats have given up an average of 3.5 goals over the last four games. Think I’m done? Not yet…

With the Panthers suffering a 5-2 defeat in the hands of the Rangers, they have now surrendered 14 goals in the past four games. Doesn’t exactly scream ‘playoff hockey,’ does it?

And with a roster that the Panthers currently possess, this is the type of hockey you’d expect out of rebuilding teams like the Rangers and perhaps the Red Wings.

But what’s causing this? What’s the root cause of their second-period debacles?

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Well, to start, that’s quite easy to answer. The Panthers come out poorly prepared and are usually hemmed in their own zone for a good period of time.

Because of that, they’re forced to run around their own zone like headless chickens caught out of position. This play almost always results in the puck ending up in the back of the net, one way or another.

And because they allow the opposition to score so early in the second, they’re basically handing over their momentum.

Slow starts to the second frame aren’t just the only problems they face. The power play is also another major concern, which also relates to their abominable play in the second.

At a period of time during the very start to the season, the Panthers were about 0/14 on the man advantage. They tried five forwards on the power play. Didn’t work. They tried four forwards and Yandle up top. Didn’t work.

They also dropped Jonathan Huberdeau down to the second unit to provide some balance – but in result – that didn’t work out, either.

It took them a bucket full of ammo until they cracked the target. But still, the power play is nowhere near where it needs to be. Not even close.

The last issue which ties into the poor display during second periods has to be their effort in the defensive zone.

So far, defensive coverage has been flat-out embarrassing. In just seven games, the Cats now hold a GA (Goals Against) tally of 30 goals. Those 30 goals have predominantly come in the second.

See what a period can do to your team? That amount in just seven games just isn’t sustainable. And more importantly, it isn’t doable if you’re striving to reach the playoffs.

Goaltending – as well – hasn’t been up to par. James Reimer has played like glass, failing to make stops when needed. His 4.26 GAA and .867 SV% has been a true reflection of that.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson hasn’t been any better. Sure, he’s led the Panthers to their first and only win on the season, all while receiving minimal help from his defense.

But to be fair, he hasn’t made any of those big-time stops during crucial moments in a hockey game. Against the Rangers, he let two softies go by on just 12 shots, forcing Reimer to man the cage.

With Luongo out for at least a couple of weeks, the Cats can really only rely upon the two aforementioned netminders. None have stolen the show, but if they’re going to lead their club back to the top, one will have to play hero.

Next. Breaking up Ekblad and Yandle Was a Necessary Move. dark

Things don’t look good in South Florida right now, especially with the power play and second-period concerns. But if there’s any chance of guiding this ship through this rough storm, it’s going to have to come now and it’s also going to have to come from each member on this hockey team.