The hearts of the cardiocots were torn out – and, worse, it was at the hands of Tampa Bay’s sworn rival Lightning.
The Florida Panthers reached the Stanley Cup playoffs as winners of the Presidential Trophy and a serious contender for victory in the first franchise championship. But the postseason turned out to be a different beast, and after facing a tougher-than-expected test from Washington in the first round, the Panthers shrugged against the Lightning. So what happened?
The most obvious answer is “Andrei Vasilevsky”. Goalkeeper-superstar Tampa Bay reminded everyone what he is capable of, repeatedly stopping the “Panthers” after the performance in the first round against Toronto mostly pedestrians (but, of course, Vasilevsky kept the best for the last in the icing of “Maple Leafs” in 7- and games).
Thanks to his 49 saves in a 2-0 victory last night, Vasilevsky now holds the NHL record for a series of results with six, beating Chris Osgood and Clint Benedict. He stopped everything against the Panthers, and it wasn’t from a lack of effort on the part of Florida.
Given this, the Panthers had the best attack in the NHL when they reached the playoffs, and scoring three goals in a four-game series is simply unacceptable – especially if you have people like Jonathan Hubert and Alexander Barkov. Tampa Bay’s strategy of loading Cats into the neutral zone clearly worked, as Florida was unable to get out of the rush, as it usually was in the regular season. Add this to the experienced Lightning coaching staff led by John Cooper and a buy-in from the players. The Panthers had to make adjustments to this series, and unfortunately the losses accumulated too quickly to learn this lesson.
There was also the Florida power, which seemed to have gone on holiday to the playoffs, scoring just one goal in 31 attempts over 10 games. Now, again, you have to pay tribute to the Tampa Bay penalty for blocking strikes, getting into lanes and making life difficult for Florida in general, but in the end you need to get results. The fall with human superiority against Washington and Tampa Bay portends trouble.
Roughly enough, the Panthers could learn a lot from their cousins in the state. If you want to go deep in the playoffs, if you want to win everything, you have to sacrifice. Bolts tossed their bodies all over the ice in this series, knowing the bruises were healing, and hoping none of the important bones would break. What’s more, Florida may have helped their cause.
But now it’s all done for Cats. And while defeating champions acting in a row is understandable and frustrating, Florida needs to move on.
The hard part now will complete it all next year. Again, the Panthers will likely have to go through two other top eastern teams to get out of the division (Tampa and Toronto), and Florida will have to do so in a tough situation.
Currently, the Panthers have only about $ 4 million to play with over the summer, and a few places to fill. The well-deserved extension of contracts with Barkow and Carter Verhee starts next season, eating a few dollars, and Sergei Bobrovsky’s $ 10 million scholarship, as always, is looming.
On the one hand the book is virtually impossible to imagine Claude Giroud’s acquisition date and expectation at UFA, while fellow newcomer and UFA Ben Chiaro has failed to improve the blue line in his short time at Sunrise. Noel Achiari and Mason Marchment also need new deals, so something needs to be given.
If there is one positive point in the situation in Florida, it is that the center Anton Lundel had a very strong company of newcomers and with constant growth (ie avoiding the terrible “decline in the second year”), Baby Barkov will bring great value to “Panther” , still playing the entry level deal.
However, will have to subtract further, and that’s where Grandmaster Bill Zito deserves to be saved.
Right now it should be painful for Florida fans who have had a lot of fun during the regular season and still have a strong team to support in the future. But Cats need to learn in this series if they want to go further next season.
Cat-astrophe: Florida needs to learn on lightning loss
Source link Cat-astrophe: Florida needs to learn on lightning loss