After lining up five consecutive victories, the Florida Panthers were gunning for win #6, squaring off against the Blue Jackets in Ohio.
As usual, the Florida Panthers kicked off the first frame in style. There wasn’t a shortage of energy from the team, as they came storming out the gates early on.
Oh, and did I mention that with a helper on the goal, Hoffman extended his point streak to 14 games, leapfrogging over Pavel Bure for the longest point streak in Panthers history.
The Blue Jackets barely escaped the first and if it wasn’t for Joonas Korpisalo, the score could’ve been worse. But for the Panthers, their nightmare had yet to come.
All of a sudden, the Blue Jackets picked up momentum out of nowhere and rallied a comeback. Shorthanded to start the second, Cam Atkinson sliced the Panthers’ lead in half.
Dubinsky and Dubois added a second and third shortly after, giving the Blue Jackets their first lead of the night. Although, Yandle tied the game off a man advantage, sending his side into the locker room even at three after forty minutes of play.
All it took was twenty minutes for Florida to lose complete control of the game. And the third wasn’t any better… worse if anything!
Even after a dreadful period, the Cats still had a shot to grab the victory. The defense, however, prevented the Panthers from extending their win streak to six games.
Once Markus Hannikainen regained the Jackets’ lead, the floodgates instantly opened, giving the home side a chance to run away with the game.
And running away with it is what they did! Columbus would add three more goals after Hannikainen’s eventual game-winner, sending the Jackets to a 7-3 rout.
What’s most disappointing about this game is how the defense completely diminished as the game advanced. The defensive core started off strong and was limiting the Jackets’ chances in their own end.
But right after Atkinson’s shorthanded goal, it’s like the defense just completely choked and lost the ability to play confidently.
Comparing their play from the first to the second/third is really night and day. From the second onwards, they just couldn’t break out of their zone or get the puck down to the forwards.
Highlighting the major disappointments on the back end would be no other than Keith Yandle and Alex Petrovic.
The two together (as a pair) were dreadful to watch in last night’s outing. Neither could contain the Jackets’ offensive weapons nor prevent them from creating chances in the slot.
Let’s take a look at Anthony Duclair’s goal right here. There’s no reason why both Petrovic and Yandle should be beaten on this play. After all, there’s two of them and one of Duclair, meaning that if one gets beat, the other should be there for insurance.
But that’s not what happens. Instead, because of their sloppy defending, Duclair is given an easy break on goal, sliding the puck between Luongo’s legs.
What is a stoppable shot? Sure, Luongo would’ve probably loved to have that one back. But all of that could’ve been prevented with better communication.
As the Panthers started to melt, the Jackets took their first lead of the night off this play. It starts when Petrovic gets beat clean in a foot race, followed by a poorly timed pinch by Roberto Luongo. This leads to an open cage for Pierre-Luc Dubois to shoot at and grab his ninth goal of the season.
Again, Petrovic is the culprit here. There’s just no reason why he should get beat that clean in a foot race. Ultimately, he had a clear head start to the puck and was still blown by in result.
All of this could’ve been avoided if Petrovic got to the puck first; although, Luongo didn’t help the situation either by pinching in so late.
I can go on all day until the cows come home and pinpoint every mistake from this game. But really, there’s no point and this group knows very well where they went wrong.
The Panthers have a chance to get back on track with a win against the New York Rangers tomorrow night.