Panthers Shouldn’t Be Concerned By 3-Game Losing Streak

The Florida Panthers still sit atop the Atlantic Division with a record of 35-13-5, one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. But after a 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, they are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, all of which have taken place at home. It ties their longest losing streak of the season and is their longest home skid.

When things are going as well, as they have for the Panthers most of this season, a three-game losing streak during a homestand can make it seem like the sky is falling. Here are some numbers from the last three games that illustrate why there may be some cause for concern, but also some encouraging signs that suggest this rough patch won’t last.

Panthers Defense Allowing More Goals

Each of Florida’s last three games have featured seven or more goals. That may not come as a surprise, seeing as the Panthers lead the NHL in goals per game (4.08). However, they’ve been outscored 16-10 during the three losses.

The Panthers gave up six goals to the Nashville Predators last Tuesday, then gave up six more to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. They had allowed six or more goals in a game three times in the 50 games prior to last week (seven to the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 9, eight to the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 14, and six to the Dallas Stars on Jan. 9).

Florida’s goals allowed per game has risen to 2.98, dropping them into the bottom half of the NHL in that category. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been excellent on the season (26-6-3 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 37 games) has been a bit shaky in his last two starts, giving up nine goals on 54 shots.

Sergei Bobrovsky Florida Panthers
Sergei Bobrovsky has been stellar this season, but his last two starts haven’t been quite as stellar
(Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Looking at more advanced numbers, Panthers goaltenders have registered negative goals saved above expected each of the last three games (according to, meaning they have given up more goals than would be expected of the average NHL goaltender. Bobrovsky gave up 1.48 goals above expected against the Predators, Jonas Johansson gave up 2.23 against the Blue Jackets, and Bobrovsky gave up 1.48 against the Oilers.

On the season, Bobrovsky has saved 18 goals above expected (fifth-most in the league), so there should be optimism that he will bounce back. Behind him, Johansson and Spencer Knight have combined to give up 12.8 goals above expected in 28 starts, so the team needs the 33-year-old to stay healthy and the young guys behind him to perform better.

Panthers Offense Converting Fewer Chances

The Panthers, who also lead the league in shots per game (36.8), have outshot their last three opponents by a combined total of 137-83, so their ability to create scoring opportunities and attack the net has not waned during their three-game losing streak.

Naturally, that advantage in shot attempts has also led to an advantage in high-danger scoring chances, which are scoring opportunities most likely to result in goals. According to, the Panthers created 21 high-danger scoring chances to Nashville’s 12, 18 to Columbus’ 12, and 15 to Edmonton’s 11.

Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
NHL points co-leader Jonathan Huberdeau and the Panthers are still creating scoring chances
(Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The difference is that Florida hasn’t been converting as many of those scoring chances. The team has scored 7.14 goals above expected so far this season, but the last three games, it has converted less goals than expected. In fact, it beat the Predators and Oilers in terms of expected goals.

Some of that discrepancy between scoring opportunities and actual goals can be chalked up to puck luck and strong performances from opposing goalies, but as captain Aleksander Barkov said following the loss to Edmonton, it can also result from not keeping the puck in the offensive zone and creating second chances.

“We’re getting shots and we’re getting chances, but in the last three games we’ve been a one-and-done kind of thing. We get into the zone, we get a good shot, and then there’s no traffic in front or no rebound guys ready to put the second chances in.”

Aleksander Barkov, on the Panthers’ three-game losing streak

It is encouraging that the Panthers are still overwhelming opponents when it comes to shots, scoring chances, and expected goals, as that is a sign that they’re winning the puck possession battle, which usually leads to wins. The results just haven’t been there the past three games.

Powerful Panthers Should Bounce Back

The way the Panthers have played this season, a three-game losing streak is cause for concern, especially when all three losses come at home. Luckily, the underlying numbers, especially in the offensive zone, still favor Florida, so fans shouldn’t worry too much.

The main problems during the three-game skid have been goaltending and lack of execution on scoring chances. A bounce back should be expected from the veteran Bobrovsky, who has played well overall this season, and if the offense continues attacking the net the way it is, the team’s goals per game will regress back towards its league-leading total.

Luckily, the Panthers do get a needed break before resuming their homestand on Thursday against the Senators. They’ll then host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday before going on the road for a back-to-back next Monday and Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.

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All NHL teams encounter rough patches during the season, some more than others. The fact that this is probably the roughest patch of the Panthers’ season says a lot about how dominant the team has been, and with their talent and depth, fans shouldn’t expect it to last. Overall, things still look bright in Sunrise.

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