Panthers Even More Undisciplined & Ineffective in Game 2 Blowout

The Florida Panthers are now in deep trouble. They leave the state of Nevada down 2-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Florida has now lost their last six Stanley Cup Final games dating back to 1996 and has lost their last two road games this postseason after only losing just one back in the first round to the Boston Bruins.

The panic button should be initiated after tonight’s loss due to a fizzled out offense that could not find the back of the net until the third, egregious misconduct that cause half of the team to be ejected, and poor defense that ultimately lost them the game.

Offense No-Shows Again

The Cats could not get it going on offense for the second night in a row. They only mustered up two goals, both in the third period. In addition, despite great looks on the power play, it once again failed to convert after four chances to do so.

Adin Hill Vegas Golden Knights
Adin Hill of the Vegas Golden Knights tends net against the Florida Panthers during the second period in Game 1 of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

They did get a fair amount of shots in at an Adin Hill who has played well in these playoffs, getting 31 shots on goal. However, they also had 20 shots blocked by the Golden Knights. Their offense needs to start finding the back of the net in bounces as this series is looking a lot like 1996 against the Colorado Avalanche.

Misconduct Mayhem

The refs were handing out game misconducts tonight like they were on the Oprah show. However, most of those were for the Panthers. Anthony Duclair, Sam Reinhart, Casey Fitzgerald, Eric Staal and Matthew Tkachuk (twice) all received a 10-minute misconduct penalty at some point in the game.

Related: Panthers Toughness Matched by Golden Knights in Game 1

As a result, they piled up a total of 84 penalty minutes, this includes their minor calls as well. Regardless of how biased the officiating may seem, the lack of discipline for the second straight night put Florida in this hole and it has to been addressed in their three-day break before Game 3.

The Defensive Breakdowns Could End the Series

The defense failed for the second night in a row to keep the team in the game. The penalty kill could not get it done as the Knights went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. The defense managed to block 11 shots but they could not clear the crease or the zone all night when it mattered. Because of their breakdown, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the second period for Alex Lyon after giving up four goals on 18 shots.

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In the past two games combined, Florida has given up 12 goals, which is tied for the most in the first two games of a Cup Final. After playing so great for the past two rounds, the crash now is already catastrophic for the Cats, and now Bobrovsky may be out of gas to bail them out. Over the next couple of days, they have to reassess their structure. If they fail to come out with a game plan, the scoreboard could look like a low-scoring football game again.

Is It Panic Time in South Florida?

With the series shifting to Sunrise, Florida for Games 3 and 4, panic could be ensued being down two games as one loss could put the series completely out of reach. Only 16 teams have ever won the Cup Final after going down 2-0 with the most recent being the 2019 St. Louis Blues, a huge underdog story.

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Of course, the atmosphere in the locker room says otherwise by saying they can make history once again.

“It’s never over. We saw that against Boston. We still believe. We’re down 2, but it’s not over. We want to rest, recover and be ready to go on home ice. We’ll get a lot of energy from our home fans.”

Panthers forward Anton Lundell on the upcoming games in Sunrise

The faith, however, must match the performance because it did not the last couple of nights. In the playoffs, it’s all about how you respond. If Florida wants a chance to take home the Cup, they have to find a way to win at home. Or history could be repeating itself once again.

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