O Canada! For the second night in a row the Florida Panthers were absolutely crushed by our supposedly friendly neighbors to the north as the Cats lost the Canadiens 4-1 in Montreal on Tuesday night.
Much like Monday night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Panthers were completely lackadaisical on the ice as their game was devoid of any passion or intensity.
Florida’s recent haphazard approach to the game is best exemplified in the team’s alternate captain, Stephen Weiss. Weiss has been lazy in his back checking and sloppy in his play throughout the Panthers’ first three games and has yet to record a single shot. Perhaps the constant lineup changes are putting Weiss off his game or maybe it’s something bigger – we should know within the coming weeks.
However, Stephen Weiss cannot shoulder the blame alone as almost every Panther player has contributed to team’s recent failures on the ice. Overall, the Panthers’ board play and defense has been atrocious and downright laughable at times. Mental mistakes and poor passing have plagued the Panthers thus far and have made life very hard on goaltenders Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.
The team’s special teams, especially their power play have broken down and the masterful display we saw on opening night could have possibly been fool’s gold. The Panthers’ power play went 1-8 on Tuesday night including blowing a crucial 5 minute power play (2 min of which were 5 on 3) where they only managed to take two total shots.
The low point of the game for the Panthers came when the Canadiens’ Ryan White sucker punched Panthers’ forward Tomas Fleischmann after Fleischmann delivered what White believed to be a dirty hit. Being down 4-1 and playing overall uninspired hockey, this was the perfect opportunity for the Panthers to pick a fight and try to ignite the squad. However, no retaliation came and the Canadiens continued to trounce the hapless Cats.
While the Panthers clearly could not go after Ryan White who was immediately thrown out of the game, surely there was someone on the Canadiens roster they could have coaxed into dropping the gloves. George Parros, who was brought in during the offseason for just these types of situations, was talked up by announcers, but held silent throughout the game as his team was continuously disrespected throughout the night. Right now I would call Parros the Panthers’ “imaginary girlfriend” – they talk about him all of the time, but when it’s time for him to show up he is nowhere to be found.
While the returns of Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim and Erik Gudbranson in the coming weeks should help team chemistry and overall play, the Panthers will need to learn to win without them for now.
Coach Kevin Dineen and the Florida Panthers will have a day off to figure things out before taking on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in Sunrise at 7:30 p.m. on FOX SPORTS Florida.
Even though it is still early and anything can happen this season, one thing is for sure – a shortened season is no place for losing streaks.
- Panthers’ rookie Drew Shore was decent in his NHL debut, totaling 2 shots in 9:20 minutes on the ice. On a team currently bereft of scoring talent, Shore could make his second NHL start on Thursday as forward Kris Versteeg remains out with a groin injury.
- Panthers’ defenseman Michael Caruso suffered a potentially broken hand or wrist during the first period of play. More information on his inury should be available on Wednesday.