As of late, the Florida Panthers have been on a roll, winning their last three outings. But right after the All-Star break, signs of rust starting showing.
The Panthers started off slow but were bailed out by goaltender Roberto Luongo in a couple of instances. On the other hand, as they slowly started to wake up, the Cats created chances of their own.
On the first power play of the night, the Preds couldn’t escape their zone and were trapped for the full two minutes. The Panthers were moving the puck well, but couldn’t bury any of their chances.
Finally, just finally in the second on yet another man advantage, Jonathan Huberdeau opened up the scoring for the home side, sniping a shot top shelf.
But soon after Huberdeau’s goal, the Predators regained momentum and started pouring pressure deep in the Panthers’ end.
Like much of the first, Luongo had to remain sharp, kicking and gloving aside every shot that came his way. Unfortunately, there was just only so much he could take, as the third period would take an unexpected turn for the Cats.
Nashville had twenty minutes to even the game and they wasted no time doing so. They scored three consecutive unanswered goals within minutes apart, completely taking control of the game.
The Panthers, really, had no answers to match the Preds’ intensity. In fact, throughout the entirety of the match, the Panthers struggled to create anything meaningful through 5-v-5.
It’s been a reoccurring issue all season long. Apart from the first line, the rest can’t seem to generate any offense that would put the opposition on their heels.
The same old of throwing loose pucks from odd angles occurred last night, which was no surprise to see against a healthy Predators team.
And even when the Panthers did create some high-danger scoring opportunities, they wasted them by shooting high or wide. I counted at least four chances in the slot that should’ve been guaranteed (or in other words) easy goals.
Essentially, the Cats were flat on the night, playing a stale brand of hockey. They ultimately showed clear signs of rust since returning from the All-Star break.
By no means what this even close to one of their worst games of the season, but I would definitely label it as one of their more lackluster performances on the year.