I'll keep it short. The Panthers have no offensive identity. Don't let the score line fool you. The Panthers first goal, scored by Anthony Stewart, was a pure fluke. The 2nd came with under a minute left in the game, meaningless. Unless Bouwmeester or Ballard, defensemen mind you, skates it from blue line to blue line, they can't even enter the zone effectively. The forwards certainly can't break out of their own zone with any purpose. A chip up the boards just to get it out of the zone, bust ass chasing the guy with the puck, back check into the defensive zone, repeat. I don't know how many times Horton tried to skate through 3 Kings defenders, trying to get into the zone, only to leave his 2 winger pals waiting on the blue line. Just ugly tonight, plain and simple. 3 total shots in the 1st period. 3 total shots in the 2nd period. I have plenty of quotes from guys talking about bringing their A-game every night, they have to be the hardest working team in the NHL, blah blah blah. Show it. Once again, the only player who can say anything was Keith Ballard. That guy just bleeds his guts every night. It seems like he's trying to carry the Panthers every night, but right now, there's just too much dead weight. Ballard started a fight at the end of the 2nd. He was scrapping all night, been scrapping the last few games. Someone's going to have to join him, learn something from him, do something, soon, or it's going to be early tee times in mid-April again.
Panthers back at it Saturday night in Phoenix against Olli Jokinen and the Coyotes. Game time is 9:00. It hasn't escaped my attention that the Panthers haven't won since I started blogging. I'll stop doing my optimistic game previews, maybe that will help. See you Saturday.