The brutal 6 games in 9 days began Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 P.M. Eastern time start against the Boston Bruins who dominated the Florida Panthers almost from the start of the game. I say almost because the Panthers scored first on a Jamie McGinn goal just 5 minutes into the first period. The Bruins then scored 5 unanswered goals, taking advantage of a Panther team that looked sloppy, tired and frustrated. The description of today’s outcome by Captain Derek MacKenzie was accurate, but good lord, not something that a captain should say to the media. Especially at this time of the year, when you’re fighting for your playoff lives. Here’s the quote:
“Some of our top guys said they were a little tired. With everything they’ve done and the minutes they’ve played, it’s possible, but on days like today, we gotta find ways to do it.”
As you can read, that’s quite the statement, and will surely cause some discussion in the dressing room. I personally find it a little strange that it was said publicly, and by a player who while captain of the hockey team, is not a player who you would say can put the team on his back and carry them to victory. If this doesn’t force the Panthers to name a new captain next season, I don’t know what will.
Back to the game, or at least what the loss does to the Panthers. While all the goals weren’t Reimer’s fault, coach Bob Boughner found it necessary to make a goalie change after the 5th Bruin goal scored by Jake DeBrusk (his second of the game) with 3:28 left to play in the second period. Roberto Luongo stopped all 11 shots in relief of Reimer, but it didn’t matter as the Panthers were done, and Boston was in complete command at that point. Reimer didn’t play as poorly as the score indicates. He had no help. Net front presence from the opposition has been a constant problem for the Panthers all season. For some reason our defencemen cannot, or will not clear the crease. And other teams know this. So if part of your game plan is to “crash the net”, you’ll likely be successful at scoring.
It was a sloppy game with too many mistakes to discuss, but things happened at the wrong time, and Boston who is a very good hockey team took advantage of those mistakes. A giveaway behind the Panther net by defenceman Alex Petrovic, led to a Bruin goal.
Later in the game, a very obvious holding call on Michael Haley gave the Bruins a power play opportunity, and Patrice Bergeron scored his 29th of the season, putting the game out of reach 4-1.
As you see this goal develop, it appears that the defence was late in their coverage in front of Reimer. A season long issue that must be addressed in the offseason. With at least a 50% turnover of personnel. More on that in the offseason.
The top line of Barkov, Dadonov, and Bjugstad while compiling 9 shots on goal, wasn’t overly noticeable. Henrik Borgstrom played 13:49 with one shot on goal, was a victim of a goal against on a play directly in front of Reimer. Not saying it was his fault. What I am saying is where was the defence?
The Panthers with this loss have really put themselves behind the 8 ball. They are now forced to win every remaining game, which is a daunting task that they likely won’t accomplish. The New Jersey Devils who beat the New York Islanders last night are now 5 points ahead of the Panthers. And even though that’s not an impossible task to overcome, with the way the Panthers have played the past 3 games, nothing tells you that there’s a chance. Those games at hand that many were boasting were an advantage, have now turned into dust. They’re meaningless unless you win them.
They dug this hole that they’re in with their slow start to the season, and it’s now just too high of a mountain to climb. The fantastic run that they’ve had since the all star break has been exciting and fun. But it’s been all too much for a team of youngsters who are growing up very fast, without enough veteran leadership to teach them the way.
As Bruce says at the very end of this chilling version of Point Blank, “Bang bang baby you’re dead” .
Thanks for reading.
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