The Florida Panthers hung onto the game for a good two periods, but their play wasn’t sustainable enough to last in the final frame.
It’s been a common theme all year long. Despite the bright spots up front, the defense just can’t seem to hold up.
Without even thinking twice, I think we can all agree that the Florida Panthers didn’t deserve the favorable outcome in this match. I mean, when you make the same blatant mistakes over repeatedly, can you really expect a different result?
The entire night, the Avs were having a field day in the Panthers’ end, doing what they usually do best: retain possession and cycle down low to create scoring chances.
But enough about Luongo, he’s not the problem here and can’t be expected to bail this team out on every occasion. That’s where defending comes into play.
As I mentioned earlier, the defense has been below average (to say the least) throughout the course of this young season. There have been no signs of improvements, and even when they do show promise on one night, they end up laying an egg the next.
It’s time we dive in and break down some of the mistakes that led to goals. Let’s start with the opening goal of the hockey game: Mikko Rantanen’s 12th of the season.
As you can see, there was nothing Luongo could’ve done on this play. The tip by Rantanen was perfect, which would’ve beaten any goaltender in this league.
Instead, I turn to the overall defending on this play. There’s just no reason why everyone needs to puck watch down low when the point is uncovered up top.
Had one of the two aforementioned players covered the point, the shot simply wouldn’t have occurred, which means that there wouldn’t have been a goal.
Next, we turn to J.T. Compher’s goal which turned out to be the game-winner. Same defensive errors we’ve seen all year by this group occurs on this play.
The Panthers are running around in their own zone like headless chickens. Where have we heard that before?
Seriously, though, the Panthers had multiple attempts to get the puck out, but they failed on every one of them.
On top of that, Bjugstad has a chance to bank the puck off the boards, but his attempt wasn’t hard enough. Landeskog is able to hold the zone and the rest, as they say, is history.
The final goal we break down is Carl Soderberg’s second of the night, which came abruptly after Compher’s eventual game-winner.
I’m not exactly sure where the Panthers are trying to get at with this, but this mistake right here is basic house league hockey.
After Luongo makes the original save, there’s somehow four players back deep, but none of them manage to pick up the loose puck.
Instead, Wilson – beating out four Panther players to the loose puck – picks up the rebound and drops it back to a wide-open Soderberg. Think he didn’t score? Guess again…
The Cats ended up dropping this game by a score of 5-2. But really, there should be no surprise, especially after this defensive effort (collectively).
I’m not sure what else to say. You aren’t going to win too many hockey games by defending like this. If the Panthers are serious about climbing standings, then they’re going to have to tighten up defensively in their own zone.
Winning one and dropping one every other night is not a recipe for success. If anything, it barely keeps you treading, and if you’re the Florida Panthers, it’s only a matter of time before you drown.