As of late, the Florida Panthers have slipped in form, and with the Maple Leafs passing them, the Cats need to get back on track before it’s too late.
The first game to start the week couldn’t have gone any better as the Cats rallied back from two goals down to beat the Maple Leafs away from home without their star-studded captain, Aleksander Barkov.
But from there, the Panthers just didn’t have enough left in them to pull out another win. They battled hard against Columbus the next night in a back-to-back but ultimately fell in overtime, failing to score a goal throughout regulation.
They had a day off until they faced their next opponent in the Vegas Golden Knights in which they got completely embarrassed in their own backyard. The play that they displayed was more or less of the same caliber that we’ve seen from this team in seasons prior. But really, it was un Quenneville-like of them to get shell-shocked in their return home.
All of that was followed by a narrow one-goal defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins which saw the Panthers drop their last three games.
The recent losing streak saw the Maple Leafs surpass the Panthers in the standings by two points but with two more games being played. On one hand, the Panthers did manage to salvage a win out of their meeting with the Leafs – which should go along way – but they didn’t help themselves by dropping their next three, which all of them were winnable.
With some ground being lost, it’s critical that the Cats bounce back this week, considering who they play. They have two tough encounters with the Philadelphia Flyers both away from home (today) and at home (on Thursday). Then, they meet the Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers on Saturday to close out the week.
Ideally, their only “easy” opponent is with the New Jersey Devils, but in a league that’s so competitive where two points can make all the difference, no game should be taken for granted – especially if you’re the Florida Panthers.
The alarms, by no means, should be sounded, as the Panthers are still within grasp of grabbing hold of that third seed in the division. But throughout the season, even when they have situated themselves in that spot, they’ve failed to create a cushion on the teams below them, blowing cover which they experienced this past week.
It’s up to the Panthers to right this ship and sail it in the right direction. Time so far is still on their side, but it only lasts forever. Eventually, as the season starts to dwindle, the Cats will have to separate themselves from the rest of the pack and determine their position. With a good week of hockey and some favorable outcomes going their way from their opponents, the Panthers could be back in a playoff spot.
Whether or not that happens is still to be determined, but if it does, the Panthers so desperately need to batten down the hatches, once and for all.