The Florida Panthers hit the ice Tuesday night with something to prove. They got their tails handed to them a couple of days ago by the Philadelphia Flyers and needed to come out tonight and show the Tampa Bay Lightning what they were capable of. That simply didn’t happen. It might have been a better game for the Panthers and possibly even a win if they could have stayed at full strength or forced a few power plays on the Lightning.
As it stood however, they gathered nine penalties for a collective thirty-seven minutes of penalty time. It wasn’t so much that they had so much time shorthanded. Actually they only had one minute less power play time than the Lightning. It was the kind of penalties they received that set the negative tone and propped up the Lighting for a better chance to win. Three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and two ten minute misconducts also point to a team that is getting frustrated.
With any luck they can rely on their coach and the remaining players to keep them afloat until help comes back from the injured list. If they plan to do that they should begin by keeping their tempers in check and their skates on the ice instead of in the penalty box. Take some of that power play time from the Lightning tonight and you might take the two goals with it. That would have made for a much more competitive game. I still think this team is playing below their talent. The talent level won’t matter for long however if they can’t do their business on the ice.