Well things aren’t looking so good. 9 points out of the playoffs with 3 games in hand, the Panthers are sitting at a .500 record of 14-14-6. In order to make the playoffs, the Cats need to finish 29-13-6 which seems impossible. However if the team can get a nice 6 or 7 game win streak, that suddenly becomes more manageable. Here is what they need to do to get there.
Roberto Luongo has had a hit or miss year. He’ll put up phenomenal efforts like Saturday in Detroit when he stole the Cats 2 points but he’ll also be swiss cheese like Thursday in Toronto. Reimer has been horrible this year. Reimer needs to get back on track and Luongo needs to be more consistent. It is easier said than done but if Reimer can get a couple of good games, his confidence will soar and a confident Reimer is a good Reimer.
Stop playing Prevent
Bob Boughner plays prevent style whenever we get a lead. That is one of the worst philosophy coaching styles in the league. The Panthers defense isn’t good enough to play prevent. Boughner needs to let his team keep on pushing and rely on the offense. Florida is an offensive team. For example, Florida gave Boston a 5-0 beatdown because they didn’t play prevent. They kept offensive pressure throughout the game. Florida needs to not relax and continue to keep pressure on the other team. I don’t know if a coaching change is needed but it will be if the Panthers continue to play and fail playing prevent style with a lead.
I want at least 60% of goals the rest of the way coming from people other than Barkov, Hoffman, Huberdeau and Dadonov. Those guys are on track for 20, 30 and 40 goal seasons respectively. Ekblad, Vatrano and Brouwer are on track to get somewhere in the mid teens and Yandle and McCann are likely to end up in the lower teens. That is decent but the Panthers are way too heavily realiant on the top 4.
All in all it is still possible but unlikely that the Panthers can comeback. The Atlantic is way too strong. The only way to get to the playoffs is to hope the panthers can start winning some games and hope Montreal collapses. Montreal has had a lot of scoring throughout their lineup. Yes their goaltending is struggling. Honestly it is interesting how Montreal has been successful with their struggling goaltending and lack of any real stars. Montreal is bound to collapse soon but Florida needs to start winning if the Panthers want to play for Lord Stanley’s Cup. However I see this being a repeat of last year. The Panthers will get somewhere in 90 points but miss the playoffs by one point. Again.