The Florida Panthers are 2-4-0 and are on a 3 game skid with all 3 losses coming from the Keystone State including two from the two time defending Stanley cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Panthers held on with the Pens losing 4-3 in both games including a great effort in the final minute, a 5-1 loss to the Flyers was unacceptable. With Roberto Luongo getting injured against Pittsburgh last night, a shaky James Reimer has to take over full time. While it is very early, things are looking bleak. Keith Yandle is still a defensive liability. Aaron Ekblad is still skating at a granny’s pace and Nick Bjugstad has fallen off since his hot start. A penalty kill once ranked 1st overall has just looked pathetic under Jack Capuano to start the year. The Panthers goaltending hasn’t been super clutch. Although you can’t blame the goalies for most of the goals, allowing 4 goals per game is unacceptable. These are dark times indeed for the Panthers.
However not all hope is lost. Connor Brickley and Owen Tippett have looked good. Mackenzie Weegar and Ian McCoshen are in an intense battle for the 6th defensive spot. Mark Pysyk is still outstanding. Huberdeau, Barkov and Dadonov are clicking. With support from the hot Jamie McGinn and cornerstones Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad the offense has looked good. Too bad the defense hasn’t been balancing it out with their defensive game.
Once the Huberdeau-Barkov-Dadonov line clicks, things should start falling into place. The team’s offense will emerge and under a defensive coach in Bob Boughner, things should start to improve there. However these things need to be done before it’s too late.