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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.

Sergei Bobrovsky looking for fresh start against Senators

Sergei Bobrovsky needs to be better for the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers will play their first game of the new year on Thursday night against Ottawa. Hopefully, it will be a bounce-back game for Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He had a rough return to Columbus on Tuesday night.

Bobrovsky gave up four goals on 28 shots in 58:15 of ice time. This marked the third game in a row that he has given up at least four goals. He gave up five to Montréal on December 29 and six the night before against Detroit. He has been struggling as of late. Thursday could be the perfect game for him to turn things around.

The last time he faced Ottawa was on December 16. He was superb in that game. Giving up one goal on 30 shots, he saw 68 minutes of ice time.  For the season, he is first in goals allowed with 96. Carey Price is second in that category with 95.

Sergei Bobrovsky struggling for Florida Panthers

There is no doubt he is struggling. His statistics reflect that. He allows 3.29 goals per game. That is second only to Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings.  His save percentage is not exactly terrible, but it’s not where it needs to be either. He carries an .897 save percentage into Thursday’s game. That ranks 10th-worst in the league.

There is no doubt he is struggling right now, and Thursday’s game against Ottawa could be the perfect bounce-back game. The Senators  are eighth-worst in the league at scoring. They have 111 goals on the season, tied with the New York Islanders. In addition, they have the worst power play conversion percentage in the league. They score a goal on 11.2% of their power plays.

Thursday could be the perfect bounce back game for Bobrovsky. The Florida Panthers definitely need him to play better. A win against Ottawa would be a nice place to start.

Florida Panthers

Bobrovsky Signing Continues Great Offseason for Florida Panthers

Lost in the wake of NBA free agency, the Florida Panthers have had a tremendous offseason thus far.

The Panthers displayed Heat-like savvy this week signing elite goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

That has been overshadowed of course by the events over the last 24 hours consuming this market.

Perhaps rightfully so.

NHL officials however should look at the timing of their free agency period, which aligns almost exactly with the NBA.

In signing Bobrovsky to a 7-year, 70-million dollar contract, the Cats mean business.

Only Carey Price makes more average salary in terms of goaltenders.

After bringing in veteran head coach Joel Quenneville, Dale Tallon has reloaded the Panthers from the goal line up.

 

The retirement of Roberto Luongo left an immediate need in net for the Cats.

Bobrovsky brings an elite goalie in right away to fill the void, and expectations will be high in Sunrise this year.

A two time Vezina Trophy winner, Bobrovsky will stabilize a position that was troubling last year.

Florida ranked 28th in the NHL  in both total goals allowed (273) and goal per game allowed (3.33) last year.

Bobrovsky spent the last seven seasons in Columbus and in addition to the two Vezina wins is a five-time NHL All-Star.

He has a 255-133-37 record over his nine-year career, with a 2.46 GAA and .919 SV% along with 38 shutouts.

Florida also added what many consider the best goalie to enter the NHL draft recently in Spencer Knight, watch out for a profile on him soon.

More Solid Additions

In front of Bobrovsky the Panthers solidified their blue line corps adding veteran defenseman Anton Stralman who spent the last five seasons across the state in Tampa Bay.

Stralman was a major part of the defense on the Lightning and the 12-year vet will add much needed experience and stability to the Panthers’ blue line.

Florida also added forwards Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari in a busy stretch this week.

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