Bruins Make Themselves At Home In Win Over Panthers
Perhaps the Florida Panthers would be better suited for a long road trip than another home stand. Although, with the number of fans in black and gold hockey sweaters in the Boston Bruins 4-1 win over the Cats, they may have thought they were on the road. First period goals from Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara put Florida in a hole they couldn’t dig their way out of en route to their fifth straight home defeat.
A Tomas Kopecky put back of a rebound of a Drew Shore shot would be the one of very few highlights on the day that included the Panthers getting outshot 3-0 on a four minute power play with the game still within reach. Jacob Markstrom started in net for the second consecutive game but he was victim to some of the same defensive miscues that Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen have been this season. Lucic’s goal came seconds after a David Krejci face off in the Florida defensive zone, the fourth time that’s happened this season.
Chara’s goal came about after all five Panthers were caught over the left side of the ice, leaving him plenty of room to do this:
And if Florida wanted another sign that it was not it’s night, Chris Kelly’s easy tap in (here’s a surprise, it was his first of the year) came after a solid backcheck by Peter Mueller caused Daniel Paille’s shot to drop on Kelly’s stick in front of an open net. Paille’s empty netter with 1:37 left closed out the scoring.
But, there was more to this game than another home loss. Stephen Weiss was benched for much of the third period, playing only 1:14 over two shifts with the fourth line. In the post game media scrum, this is how Coach Kevin Dineen addressed the subject:
“You know what, that was to do myself a favor. I think for the last year and a half, I’ve looked down if we are a man short or, on the power play or whatever I need, I’m always looking at that number. So, that made it made much easier for me to have him sitting there and not part of the equation with the quality of hockey he’s playing right now.”
If you’ve followed the Panthers at all this season, you know that Weiss just hadn’t been very good, so far. Through 14 games, he’s scored one goal with three assists with a -11 rating. But, even beyond the numbers, he’s looked a step slow for much of the time (See Troy Brouwer’s GWG from Feb 12). At first speculation was that he was nursing an injury but, he’s since insisted that he’s ok, which might explain why he’s now being docked playing time and facing criticism from the coach.
So, of course, you can’t help but ask, “What now?” Is Weiss scratched on Tuesday or sometime in the near future? If he’s not, does he the A on his sweater? Do you trade him now? Could you get full value for him when he’s playing this way? With no practice scheduled Monday, any answers won’t come until Tuesday at the earliest (outside of a trade) but, with the way this season has gone, this is the last thing this team needed.
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