Florida Panthers are own worst enemy in loss to Toronto

This is a game that the Florida Panthers should have won. Furthermore, it was inexcusable loss. After being up 3-1, the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four straight goals.

Kasperi Kapanen scored a goal with 2:17 in the first period on the power play to make it a 3-2 game. Defensively, the Florida Panthers looked discombobulated, as Kapanen’s shot deflected off Aaron Ekblad. The Panthers could never clear out of the zone and that resulted in a goal. Things got tighter, but the Panthers had ample opportunities to close the door.

Austin Matthews made the game a bit tighter as he was able to find the puck out of traffic in front of the net and put it home to make it a 3-3 game. That was scored with 18:58 left in the first period.

From there, it was a complete collapse for the Florida Panthers. After a scoreless second period for both clubs, Toronto managed to score two goals in the third.

William Nylander’s go-ahead goal was thanks to a turnover in the Florida zone  from Frank Vatrano. Again, it was more of the same for Florida. They just could not seem to clear it out of their own zone, and Toronto capitalized. This is exactly what I was afraid of. The goal by Nylander made it a 4-3 game.

The final goal was an empty-netter scored by Justin Holt. That just added more salt to the wound.

The Florida Panthers were their own worst enemy

Overall, it was another frustrating game where the defense could just not keep it together. Not only that, Florida kept shooting themselves in the foot. Turnovers in their own zone, combined with sloppy puck control led to a mess.

It would be easy to blame Sergei Bobrovsky. He did the best he could with the difficult situation Thursday. He had 24 saves on the evening.

This is exactly what I was afraid of. The Florida Panthers have been their own worst enemy many times this season. Toronto is a team with talent that can capitalize. They did that Thursday . Florida is a team that is very talented. However, if they keep making the same mistakes defensively, they will not get very far. This is a young team for sure. However, the Panthers don’t have much room to play with. They shot themselves in the foot tonight in a game that was a crucial one.

I hate to say this, but kudos to Toronto. They kept playing hard throughout the course of the game, and forced Florida to make untimely errors. They kept attacking, and it worked.

Florida needs to fix their mistakes quickly, particularly defensively. Puck management in their own zone should be a focal point practice before they take the ice against Chicago on Saturday.

Florida Panthers: Defense will need to be on their toes against Toronto

The Florida Panthers have a tough contest ahead of them as the Toronto Maple Leafs are next up on the schedule Thursday. After losing to a Zamboni driver on Saturday, the Maple Leafs fared much better in their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Beating Tampa Bay 4-3, they had into Thursday’s action with a couple of hot goal scorers.

For starters, look no further than John Tavares. He had two goals on Tuesday, showing just how explosive he is and how consistent he has been over the past couple of years.  He has recorded five points in his last five games.

In the month of February, Mitch Marner has had a fantastic time finding the goal-scorers. He has recorded two goals and 10 assists so far in the month. He had an assist on Tuesday night against Tampa Bay. With the assist, he has now recorded three points in his last five games.

Although the Toronto Maple Leafs may struggle with consistency, they are still a team full of potent scorers. The real question is to whether they will show up each and every night.

Florida Panthers need to play strong defense to counter speed

Even with the inconsistencies, the Florida Panthers have to play better defense on Thursday. Defense has not been a strong suit for them this year. As result, Bobrovsky  he has struggled. He had a great game on Tuesday however, giving up one goal to the Arizona Coyotes in what was a 2-1 win. In 60 minutes of play, he made 37 saves. This was certainly an improvement from some of his past starts.

This Toronto team skates fast and shoots often. Borovsky is going to need to be on top his game, and I don’t trust the Florida defense to get back in time. This is a very balanced Toronto team who will need to capitalize on mistakes.

The Florida Panthers will need to be on their toes all game. This will be a crucial  game for the defense, and a win on Thursday could do wonders in boosting the conference. As long as Florida plays back and focuses  on staying in front of their man, they should be able to have a chance at success.

Florida Panthers: Team needs to test Darcy Kuemper early and often

As the Florida Panthers get set to take on the Arizona Coyotes  they have a golden chance to pick up a victory. Arizona will be sending out goalie Darcy Kuemper. If I’m Florida, I am licking my chops.

Kuemper has not played in a game in more than two months due to a lower-body injury. He was called up from AHL Tucson on Sunday. Prior to his injury, he was playing extremely well. He recorded a 15-8  mark and had a 2.17 goals-against average. He tallied a .929 save percentage in 25 starts.

This is a golden opportunity for Florida to make an impact and get the lead early. As good as Kuemper was prior to his injury, he hasn’t seen NHL action in a while. The Panthers need to make sure to get pucks on him early.

Florida is only seven points out of a playoff spot. Columbus currently holds the second wild-card spot with 76 points. Florida currently has 70 on the season. They come into Tuesday’s action having lost two games in a row. Arizona is sitting comfortably in the second wild-card spot, having beaten Tampa Bay 7-3 on Saturday.

Florida Panthers need to test Arizona Coyotes goalie

The Florida Panthers need to make sure they test Kuemper early. Creating traffic in front of the net will be key. Screens  will be crucial offensively.  Shielding his vision via screens and moving in front of the net will be paramount for Florida.

Driving towards the net instead of taking simple shots from the point should be a focus. That will put more pressure on Kuemper Injury or not, Kuemper has proven to be a solid goaltender. He is not going to be beaten  easily.

The offensive output for Florida is going to need to be strong. Here they have a golden opportunity to face a goalie who is trying to get his game going again. They need to be active and shoot frequently. Getting pucks towards the net and creating traffic should  lead to success.

The Florida Panthers need this win, and they have an opportunity to make it happen.

Florida Panthers: Defense struggles again in difficult loss

With the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers meeting on Thursday,  the Panthers needed to put together a strong showing to remain in the playoff hunt. On home ice, they had a perfect opportunity to put themselves right in the playoff mix. Instead of winning, the Panthers were defeated 6-3.

This was a game the Florida Panthers completely squandered on home ice. As they took on the Philadelphia Flyers, they got into a hole and  could never dig themselves out. in what is becoming a common theme, the defense was flat. They played on their heels for a majority of the game, and that did not bode well for a win.

Florida Panthers fall behind early

It started with three straight goals in the first frame. They were never able to fully put together a comeback. Jonathan Huberdeau finally scored for the Florida Panthers 33 seconds into the third frame. However, by that time, the Florida Panthers already put themselves in a four-goal deficit. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov scored their 20th and 17th goals on the season. However, the late comeback was still not enough.

Thursday night, defensive play was the Achilles’ heel again. It’s been a problem throughout most of the season. Once again, they left the goaltender hung out to dry. Thursday night, Sergei Bobrovsky  had another rough affair. After giving up three goals on nine shots, he was pulled at the end of the second frame.

Sam Montembeault struggled in relief. He gave up three goals on 19 shots in 40 minutes of ice time. No matter who the Florida Panthers put out there, the Flyers were able to find ways to score. Both goaltenders had a rough night, but it also spoke to the fact that the defense was not up to par. The goalies could only do so much, and they struggled containing Philadelphia’s offensive attack.

James van Riemsdyk had a huge game for Philadelphia. He scored a goal and two assists. Scoring the opening goal at 4:24 in the first frame, he set the tone early.

Now, the Florida Panthers take on the Oilers Saturday looking to take back some momentum. One thing is becoming apparent. Florida needs to quickly address the defensive woes as we get closer to the playoffs.

Florida Panthers: Sergei Bobrovsky has little room for error Thursday

It’s not too often that a goalie can be the focal point of the game, but such is life with Sergei Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers. Bobrovsky has struggled over his past couple of outings, and the Philadelphia Flyers will be a tough test for him on Thursday night.

Bobrovsky has not won a game since February 3, losing three decisions in between. One of those was to the Flyers. In that contest, he gave up three goals on February 10 in what was a 4-1 loss for the Panthers. Ivan Provorov, James Van Riemsdyk, and Travis Sanheim each scored goals against Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky in rut for Florida Panthers

Bobrovsky is in a bit of a rut right now. He has struggled for much of the 2020 calendar year, and he has a tough road from here on out. Some of it has to do with the defense of the Florida Panthers . However, a lot of it can be traced back to Bobrovsky’s play. He has not looked comfortable in net, and that is especially apparent during his three-game losing streak.

He is definitely going to be challenged Thursday. This is a Philadelphia Flyers team that is on a bit of a roll right now. They did lose to the Islanders by a 5-3 score on Monday. However, they have won two out of their last three games. This includes beating Washington 7-2 last Saturday.

The Eastern Conference is in the midst of a close playoff race. A win on Thursday for the Panthers could help them inch closer to the eighth spot in the conference.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Florida is in the 10th spot with 66 points. Toronto holds the eighth spot with 68 points.  Philadelphia is clinging to the seventh spot with 69 points. There is not much that separates these two teams from switching places.

Bobrovsky needs to have a solid game on Thursday. He needs to be alert and ready. Philadelphia has a balanced scoring attack. Bobrovsky found that out the hard way the last time these two met. If he can have a clean first period and withstand the initial rush from Philadelphia, he should be in much better shape than he has been the past three games. He needs to be on top of his game Thursday as each game becomes more important for the Florida Panthers.

Florida Panthers: Fourth line comes up huge in win

The Florida Panthers beat the New Jersey Devils by a 5-3 margin on Wednesday night. That was due largely to the play of the fourth line. They were flying all over the ice, and getting themselves involved in every play.

They had their hands all over this game. Mark Pysyk had a goal and two assists on the evening. Michael Matheson had a goal and two assist to his credit as well. Not to be forgotten, Noel Acciari  had a goal and an assist on the evening.  The Florida Panthers were able to get production from somewhere else besides the top line. This is certainly a positive development for a young organization that is looking to get a winning streak going come playoff time.

Fourth line crucial for Florida Panthers

It’s not that this Florida Panthers team does not have depth. They certainly do, proving it on Tuesday. However, having the fourth line excel on Wednesday night speaks to the depth of the team. Especially with the Florida Panthers struggling over the past couple of weeks, having this line come up as big as they did is certainly good for the team moving forward.

As the dog days of the season are approaching, not having to rely on the top line Wednesday night was  important. The fourth line produced some gritty shifts. It was exactly the type of performance that you would expect from that line. The scoring prowess on the part of that line was just a bonus. As a result, all three players have been named the three stars of the game.

It would be premature to call them the best fourth line of hockey . However, those individuals were able to help the Florida Panthers secure a victory over New Jersey. Even more impressively, it came without a ton of help from the top line. It will be interesting to see how this line plays throughout the remainder of the season. With division races heating up, all players need to be firing on all cylinders from here on out.

Panthers Must Find Offense for Quick Home Stand

The Florida Panthers return home Thursday and must find offense in a hurry.

To kick off the second half of the NHL season, Florida trekked out on the road for three straight.

Get used to that Panthers fans, the Panthers will play seven of ten on the road starting next week.

It was an up-and-down three game set away from the BB&T Center, Florida lost two of three after a 1-0 overtime loss Wednesday at Columbus.

 

Despite taking only three out of a possible six points, the Panthers looked better against both Toronto and Columbus.

Each of those games were decided by a single goal, Florida lost a painful overtime game in Columbus 1-0 Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky (20-13-5, 3.19 GAA, .901 SV%) stopped 44 out of 45 shots against the Blue Jackets.

 

His save percentage since November is .917 which is right in line with his career average (.918).

In the first half of the season the offense carried the weight, unfortunately with the improvement in net has come a decline on the other side.

Florida has endured their first two shutouts this season in the last three games.

An injury to Sasha Barkov has not helped, the Panthers captain is still day-to-day.

The Vegas Golden Knights (27-21-7, 61 points) visit the BB&T Center Thursday, winners of two out of three.

Vegas attempts the second most shots in the NHL per game (34.1) and sport a top 10 power play.

Former Panthers Reilly Smith (42 points) and Jonathan Marchessault (37 points) are among the top scorers for Vegas.

Smith is tied for the team lead with Max Pacioretty with 21 goals.

The Panthers allow 32.4 shots per game, 24th in the NHL.

Florida will need Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Davodov to step up in Barkov’s absence.

Mike Hoffman has just two points in his last three games since the break after having his 10 game point streak snapped.

The Panthers will need a complete defensive effort in front of Bobrovsky to hold off Vegas.

Look for an energized team after a few days off and returning to home ice.

Puck drops Thursday at 7PM Eastern.

 

 

 

 

Panthers Lose Ugly Game, Barkov to Start Second Half

The Florida Panthers managed to lose ugly to start the second half, 4-0 Saturday at Montreal.

It was the first time this season the Panthers have been shut out.

A poor start by Florida got worse quickly with an injury to Sasha Barkov.

 

 

Early prognosis on Barkov’s apparent lower body injury is positive

Momentum from the first half of the year quickly disintegrated as Florida fell behind just over five minutes in.

Montreal would never look back.

 

The dynamic Panther power play was shut out in six attempts, despite 14 shots on goal with the man advantage.

Florida lacked energy and focus earlier as Montreal did all the little things right, winning battles on the boards and in front of both goals.

Jeff Petry had an assist on all four tallies for the Canadiens and Montreal won the face off battle 37-20, a huge disparity leading to puck possession.

Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped all 29 shots for his 47th career shutout, third in Canadiens history.

Sergei Bobrovsky was not the problem despite allowing four goals, he stood on his head to keep Florida in it early.

Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots overall, including 15 of 16 sent his way in a rough first period for the team.

His play in net kept the Panthers within range for the first half of the game until it got away in the second period.

Montreal was able to convert on 1-of-2 power plays and controlled the game from the onset.

Florida now sits at 28-17-5 and are tied with Toronto with 61 points.

The two meet Monday in a pivotal Atlantic Division game as both fight for playoff position.

 

 

Florida Panthers Look to Carry Momentum Into Second Half

The Florida Panthers hope to keep the momentum going into the second half of the season.

Florida has five games in seven nights to open the second half, with three on the road to start.

With six straight wins entering the NHL All-Star break, the Panthers are the hottest team in the NHL along with Columbus.

Sergei Bobrovsky has three of those victories and for him at least the layoff was a good thing in terms of health.

Now as an important stretch approaches, the Panthers travel to the hockey mecca in Montreal to kick off the second half.

From Have Nots to Habs Again?

Montreal on the other hand has been on a roller coaster ride since late December as they lost eight straight going into the new year.

The Habs turned it around a bit before the break with wins in four of six following that losing skid.

Ageless Cary Price (21-17-0, 2.80 GAA, .909 SV %) still mans the net in Montreal. Price has won four out of his last five starts.

Left winger Tomas Tatar leads Montreal with 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) and the Canadiens get solid scoring across multiple lines.

Montreal has seven players with at least 11 goals, including the dangerous Shea Weber from the blue line. Weber has the hardest slap shot in the NHL from the point, Florida must be aware of him especially on the power play.

The Canadiens are a middle of the pack team that doesn’t stand out in one particular phase, Florida has the better talent overall but cannot overlook anyone.

Florida’s key advantage is their 5th ranked power play versus the 23rd ranked penalty kill of Montreal. If the Cats get the man advantage they need to capitalize.

Playing in Montreal is always tough, Head Coach Joel Quenneville will certainly have the team motivated out of the break.

 

Excitement is building around the Panthers as they surged to end the first half. After starting many seasons past slowly, those early points will certainly help their playoff push.

Bobrovsky should be energized after the hiatus, if the defense can take the next step it will give the Panthers the balance they need to contend with the upper echelon of the NHL.

After Montreal the Cats will travel to face the high flying Columbus Blue Jackets on Super Bowl Sunday.

Florida Panthers: Organization to host 2021 NHL All-Star Game

The 2021 NHL All-Star game will have a Florida Panthers feel to it. The team has been selected to host the event for the first time since 2003.

This will be the fourth time that the state of Florida has hosted the All-Star Game. Tampa Bay did the honors in the 2018 season.

Florida Panthers youth movement should make for interesting event

The Panthers have a plethora of young stars. Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadonov, and Aleksander Barkov are just some of star talent Florida has. Right now, the Florida Panthers sit with a 27-16-5 record. With 59 points on the year, that is good enough for third in the Atlantic Division. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have more.

Next season, the Florida Panthers should return the same core group. This should allow for some sustainability as the Panthers look to compete in a tough Atlantic Division. Having Florida Panthers players at next year’s All-Star game would certainly be a great thing for both of the fans and Florida hockey in general.

This is going to be just one of the major events in what should be a huge year for Florida sports. Miami Gardens will be hosting the 2021 College Football National Championship. That too should provide some excitement to the area. It will certainly be a busy time as Florida will be on the national stage with some of the biggest events in all of sports.

The Panthers are gaining more respect around the National Hockey League, and having the All-Star game on home ice is another big development. In what is sure to be a fun weekend for all involved, there is a chance that the Panthers could be well-represented. A lot has changed in the NHL since 2003, and the youth of the Florida Panthers is a representation of how far the organization has come since then.