Every Florida Panthers game is like a bad rerun. Not just a bad one in
the middle of several good episodes that keeps the audience hooked, but rather
one game after another filled with the same mistakes that result in the same
losses that beat Panther fans into submission knowing this is going to be yet another year
with their team out of the playoffs.
Monday night’s 3-2 loss against the Nashville Predators was no different,
as the Panthers overcame a one-goal deficit in the third period only to blow the
lead with three minutes left and then promptly gave it all away in overtime.
“There is a reason why [the Predators] are where they are at, because
they find ways to win,” said Stephen Weiss, who didn’t have a very happy Passover
despite being a key component of Florida’s comeback effort, scoring the second goal
and dishing out an assist for the first one.
Panthers head coach Frank DeBoer lamented the fact that his team’s
comeback effort in the third period went to waste after what he called “two or
three chances [the Panthers] just missed” to take a 3-1 lead and put the game
away for good.
Nashville took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the second period having had
done nothing to deserve so, as they found Florida’s defense in momentary
disarray as forward David Legwand scored with a precise wrist shot, the
Predators’ sixth shot on goal of the game up to that point.
However, the Predators stalled after that and paid for their passive
nature early in the third quarter, when defenseman Keith Ballard tied the game
and started turning momentum around.
Three minutes later, forward Michael Frolik fired a fired a vicious
slapshot that found everyone off-guard except Weiss, who alertly tipped it in
and gave Florida a 2-1 lead.
The Predators slowly came to realize that losing to the Florida Panthers
was a very real possibility, and their grip on the sixth seed in the Western
Conference was starting to loosen until forward Patric Hornqvist evened things
up once again with three minutes left in regulation.
You could feel the air coming out of the Panthers as they were
shellshocked by losing the lead, and the Predators assessed the knockout punch
one minute into overtime courtesy of defenseman’s Francis Bouillon’s snap shot
to give Nashville two precious points.
Ballard said after the game that the Panthers are committed to playing
hard and remaining professional during the seven games that remain this season,
but the best thing that could happen to them is for someone to mercifully pull
the plug on the show and let management do some re-casting during the offseason
so the Panthers can attempt to come back to primetime in 2011.