Friday, March 6, 2009

Finding Negativity In Beautiful Spaces

When Florida returned from their difficult road trip with a 3-2 record, I was beyond thrilled. After all, with the places we played in, and the teams we got off our schedule for good, it was a great showing. However, after last night's dreadful loss to Pittsburgh, we find ourselves tied for 6th through 8th now, and with a very weak grip on the playoff line.

Let's take a closer look at the trip. The two losses? Complete blowouts, losing to Boston 6-1 and New Jersey 7-2. The three wins? A come from behind two goals in 60 seconds to squeak by the flailing Rangers, a convincing win over Washington who can't beat anybody lately, and a 4-3 nail biter against the worst home team in the NHL. Not exactly a statement road trip, despite the record.

With both Buffalo and Carolina welcoming in road teams that just played the night before, the Panthers could easily find themselves one point away from 10th place in the East again, by the end of the night. That would certainly make Saturday's game against St. Louis a must win again. Florida follows that game by once again embarking on a road trip to red hot Pittsburgh and resurgent Buffalo. Those are two teams we are battling with, and we must win in hostile territory to keep our hopes alive.

My current thoughts:

-Anybody else wish we had just traded Bouwmeester? He played horribly last night and again looks like he wants to be anywhere but here. He let Crosby go around him and score the deflating tying goal, and missed an open shot on net by no less than 26 miles in the third period.

-Man Pittsburgh fans are getting to be quite stereotypical. I've never seen so many high school girls at a hockey game in South Florida before. Plus, just for kicks, I saw a guy wearing a Crosby jersey with his arm around another guy. Just sayin...

-Oh yeah, this is a hockey game, not a football game! Put your stinkin' terrible towels away. They just show you're not a real hockey fan.

-Poor Steve Eminger. His first noticeable play as a Panther is a penalty. Four penalty minutes is not a great debut, but I put more blame on Cullimore, who really needs to be benched. He was a great addition last season, but he has slowed down beyond reason at this point. Bring Boynton back to pair with Ballard, and let McCabe play with Eminger.

-Speaking of the defense, how does a defense that is so talented give up so many shots? Vokoun must have bruises after games at this point. We have given up 35-40 shots in just about every game lately.

-What's that ping? Oh Nathan Horton must have shot the puck. Seriously, for a guy that waits as long to shoot as he does, he sure has no aim. Or maybe he's playing a hypothetical game of three bar everytime he's out there.

-Sad to see how many people left after the fourth goal last night. Just shows how many bandwagoners are back.

-Did I mention Saturday is a must win? Please win it Florida.

Let's hope for some out of town scoreboard magic between now and the game Saturday. This race is getting tighter and tighter by the day.

Panthers playoff chances: 81.1% (Trending Down)

Playoffs or bust.

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