Saturday, October 25, 2008

Panthers 0 - Blues 4; Oops...

Maybe I should reconsider this blog thing... The Panthers gave their most lackluster effort of the young season tonight in St. Louis, going down to the Blues 4-0. Special teams, once again, separated the two teams. The Blues officially finished the night 2 for 7 on the powerplay, but two of those man up advantages came in the waning minutes of the game. The Panthers, on the other hand, finished 0 for 5, including a 5 on 3 for a full minute, and rarely threatened to create any type of chance.

The Panthers were badly outshot tonight, 31-17. Coming into tonight's game, the Cats were averaging over 32 shots per game. Tonight, it just wasn't there. True, they played a tough game last night in South Florida. True, they were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. True, St. Louis has the best power play in the NHL and started the tallest goaltender in NHL history (6'7" Ben Bishop). Everything just stacked up against the Panthers tonight, even before the game started. Stephen Weiss was hurt pregame, causing DeBoer to mix and match his lines all night. With Brian McCabe still out with his bad back, and young defenseman Cory Murphy injured during last night's game against the Sharks, the Panthers called up Jason Garrison from AHL Rochester. There was even a Garrison sighting on the blueline during a powerplay. Yet one more hit to the blueline, Bryan Allen will undergo knee surgery and be out indefinitely.

One small bright spot: Newcomers Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard didn't take this loss lightly. Both were scrapping all night. Actually, both were trying to scrap with St. Louis Blues agitator Cam Janssen. Wade Belak also tried, unsuccessfully, to get Janssen to go late in the game. While this is hardly a "good loss", it is reassuring to see the new guys continuing to fight to the end. Maybe that old Panther attitude is still stuck on a few of those jerseys.

Now for the good news. Coach DeBoer and the Panthers are off until Thursday. 4 days to refocus, get some good practices in, and find that fight and drive that we saw over the last week or so.

Next game: 10\30 vs. Ottawa.
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