Florida Panthers: Lack of Execution was the Difference against the Ducks

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks defends the net against Troy Brouwer #22 of the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 28, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks defends the net against Troy Brouwer #22 of the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 28, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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For the Florida Panthers, 44 shots were thrown on goal, but only two ended up in the back on the net on goaltender John Gibson.

Yes, you read that right. On 44 shots, the Florida Panthers mustered a whopping two goals and fell to the ever-so mediocre Anaheim Ducks.

From the very start, the Panthers were playing behind the eight ball. In the opening 15 seconds of the game, the Ducks struck first courtesy of Josh Manson.

His point shot found its way through, deflecting off a Panther player and squeaking past James Reimer.

As tricky as those shots can be, James Reimer needs to do better. The shot itself was no howitzer and even though it took a deflection off a body and changed direction, Reimer has to ensure that he gets his entire body in front of that puck (which he clearly doesn’t).

Giving credit where credit is due, the Cats didn’t collapse and responded in the best possible way. They controlled play the rest of the first and created some good looks on the power play. Only issue? Lack of execution…

The second frame, however, was a little different. Aaron Ekblad recorded his fifth of the season, tying the game at a goal aside.

Moments later and Evgeni Dadonov gave Florida their first lead of the hockey game. His goal came on the power play and was set up by the playmaker himself: Jonathan Huberdeau.

Like that, the Panthers were in the driver’s seat expected to full throttle away with this game. But due to a lucky bounce and a defensive error, the Cats couldn’t even escape with a point.

Minutes after Dadonov’s goal and Ritchie leveled up the game for the away side. A puck was thrown on goal and Ritchie happened to get a piece of it off his stick. Nonetheless, it was a flukey (and lucky) goal.

But as the Panthers continued to chip away as the game went on, they just couldn’t bury a third one. In fact, Gibson made some really good saves at crucial parts of the game, while at others, the Panthers just simply couldn’t capitalize.

The Ducks, on the other hand, punished the Panthers for their lack of execution, finding the game-winner late in the third.

What a way to lose it, right? With under two minutes left in regulation, Nick Ritchie was left wide open in the crease, stuffing home Ryan Getzlaf’s pass.

This goal was purely on the defense itself. Late in a game that is tied up at two, you just can’t afford to leave guys open in the crease like that. Because when you do, you’re really just asking for trouble.

Last night’s game was one that the Panthers *could’ve* won, but because they couldn’t bury their chances, they ultimately left the game up for grabs. And the Ducks weren’t afraid of grabbing it from them.

And sure, Gibson may have played well, but finding the back of the net twice on 44 shots just doesn’t cut it in this league.

Apart from the third goal (the game-winner), the defense didn’t play too bad and was good enough to pull off the victory.

Goaltending, which has been a major concern all year, wasn’t particularly bad. Reimer certainly wasn’t on his ‘A game,’ but again, when was the last time he’s had an A-game performance? At best, he’s been mediocre, which is all we’ve received out of him and Hutchinson thus far.

The offense, which has been the lone bright spot in this slow start to the year, happened to struggle throughout 2/3 periods.

The Ducks stuck to their usual game plan which was to sit back and clog the neutral zone. Even so, the Panthers still managed to create some really good chances, but like years prior, they squandered on them and failed to capitalize.

The Cats are now up against the red-hot Buffalo Sabres on Friday, Nov. 30, and if there’s going to be any chance at taking two points, the offense is going to have to show up and finish.

Next. Three Stars in Win Over the Devils. dark

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