On a three game road-trip for the Florida Panthers that took them to Eastern Canada, it has become a trip they will soon want to forget.
It all started in Toronto on Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs in an evenly-matched encounter as it was tied 1-1 until the 11:02 mark in the third period that stirred up a controversy involving Colton Orr deflecting a shot past goaltender Scott Clemmensen that gave the Leafs a one-goal advantage. It appeared that Orr took Clemmensen out of position, which the National Hockey League admitted the next day, the non-call for goaltender interference that aided Toronto to a 3-1 win was a mistake.
Thursday, the Panthers were in Ottawa to face the Senators, and Pete DeBoer, in an attempt to jump start the Panthers offense, decided to scratch left wing, Michael Frolik.
“We need more out of him. We can’t wait 30 games,” DeBoer told the Sun-Sentinel. “He’s not alone in that group, but you have to start somewhere. He’s got some character and some pride, so I’m assuming he’ll respond the right way.”
Unfortunately, this strategy did not help the Panthers. Florida started the game with a power-play goal in the first period with Senators left wing, Nick Foligno serving a goaltender interfering penalty. Their sloppy play throughout the second and stayed consistent through most of the third period resulted in Ottawa scoring five unanswered goals including a short-handed tally. The Panthers attempted to claw their way back into the game as Christopher Higgins and Mike Santorelli would record their first goals of the season but they would fall short in a 5-3 loss.
With the recent collapse of the Panthers both offensively and defensively, it has placed them in a start over position. Going back to the basics and simplifying the game can provide the team with an opportunity of righting the ship. However, Florida’s recent decline will continue if they cannot find the team chemistry that appears to be missing in this offensive struggle.
After starting this road trip 0-2, the Panthers will finish off their north of the border trip in Montreal on Saturday night before returning to Sunrise for a two game home-stand starting on November 3rd.