The Florida Panthers played three games this week against teams that are ahead of them in the standings, but with the positivity and chemistry of the Panthers they can compete with any team in the league. “Our core young guys need to take over this team,” said general manager Dale Tallon. Tallon wants a new style, playing quicker and younger. Let’s see what they did this week against Tampa Bay, Columbus and the Rangers.
The Panthers faced off against one of their rivals, Tampa Bay, on Monday. Tampa Bay had won nine games thus far and were on top of their division. They came in strong showing they earned their record so far by keeping lots of pressure on throughout the game, making it difficult for Florida to keep up. Tampa ended the first with a lead but Florida did not give up. Halfway through the second, two more goals were let in by the Florida goalie making it five to three, and that’s when the Panthers decided to switch keepers for a fresh pair of legs. The Panthers were getting deflated and it was easy to see as the lead grew for Tampa six to four, and there were two more to come. Steven Stamkos tipped a slapper right in front of the net just like Joe Pavelski would. The game ended with a eight to five win for Tampa Bay, and more shots for Tampa as well, but Florida showed they can really play against top teams and put up a fight.
Panthers had plenty of time to rest until their following game on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is also a top team in the league right now, but the Florida spirit lead them to scoring the first goal of this high-scoring game. The first period finished with the Blue Jackets up two to one, both goals scored by number 77, Josh Anderson, giving him a chance at a hat-trick. In the second, the tying goal from the Panthers was a strange one. A fanned wrist shot confused the keeper and slid past his pads slowly, but then Florida let another one slide in, and so a goalie switch was called and a fresh pair of legs hit the ice. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his second goal for Columbus, and now two players had a chance at the coveted hat-trick. At the end of the second, it was five to three for Columbus. The last two were goals scored in the third making the final score seven to three-a big win for the Blue Jackets.
At another home game, Florida played New York. The first period was scoreless with both goalies and defenses showing their skills. Second period started with a goal for the Panthers giving the team a boost, but they couldn’t match the intensity as New York scored only four minutes after. The next goal was for Florida: a messy jumble of skaters in front somehow resulted in the puck going in, credited to number 7, Colton Sceviour, making it his second goal putting his name in the goal-scoring column. Regular time ended up in a four to four tie. Both teams playing well, they headed into overtime. Shattenkirk scored the game-winning goal for the Rangers just two minutes into overtime.
Florida had a rough week, losing all three games they played. They’ll have to improve both their offense and defense if they want to win more games. Hoping to do better next week, they move on to their next game near the bottom of the standings desperately trying to climb up.
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