Same old, same old. The face lift the Panthers went through in the offseason seems only to have changed the faces. The story lines, the problems, the lack of leadership... it's all painfully, obviously still there. Tonight's game against Boston was like so many I've watched in the last half decade or so. There's probably a good 8 or 9 guys on the roster who look like they belong in the NHL. They go all out every game, stick up for teammates, aren't afraid to dig pucks out from the corners against the Zdeno Charas of the world. Then there's the other guys. Seemingly uninterested in the game they are a part of for stretches of time. Waiting for the play to happen before joining in, rather then creating chances on their own. This is not a game you can watch, wait, think, and then act. There has to be a basic instinct, a react first, answer questions later mindset. David Booth has it. Brian McCabe shows it. Not sure how many other guys truly have that in their blood.
Clearly, tonight's opponent was vastly superior. The B's haven't lost in regulation this month. Their goaltender, Tim Thomas, should be a starter in Montreal for the All-Star game. Their defense may be the best in the league. Scoring comes from every line. The talent gap was clearly evident tonight.
Let's face it. The Panthers just finished a stretch of 10 games where 8 were played on the road. That would be hard on any team. But night in and night out, the Panthers are giving up 40 shots a game. The only reason Boston didn't hit the big 4-0 tonight was they had a 4-1 lead going into the 3rd and have a huge matchup with Montreal tomorrow night and held back. But they had 35 shots through the first 2 periods. You won't, can't win consistently in the NHL like that. Bottom line, this is not a good team right now. And unless something drastic changes, there won't be many positives to write about for a while.
Panthers have the weekend off before coming home for 3 straight, starting Monday night against Carolina.