Sunrise, FL – The feast or famine Florida Panthers‘ losing streak has come to an end, as they defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-1. However, the damage to their nine-game homestand has been done. Florida came into the homestand ranked inside the playoff bracket, hoping to further cement themselves as a playoff team for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Instead, the Cats lost four out of their last eight but did so in surprising fashion. Florida ranks top 10 in goals scored this season, but in each of those four games lost, they couldn’t manage to score more than two goals. In fact, in two of those games, they only scored once. Uncharacteristic to say the least.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been the bright spot during this homestand, and if the team had to sacrifice a homestand for Bobby to get right, I’m ok with it. Bob got off to a rough start this season, but during the homestand, he’s put together a .953 save percentage, which is above his career average of .918.
The Cats just need consistency. Bobrovsky doesn’t need to have a career season for the Panthers to win. Although, no complaints if he does. He just needs to consistently be who he’s always been throughout his career. The team doesn’t need to score six goals to win games. Although, no complaints if they do!
The Rhode to Success
It was a night of milestones. Tonight’s game was a coming-out party for Noel Acciari. Papa Noel knows it’s Christmas time, so he came bearing gifts. Acciari scored, not once, not twice, but thrice, recording his first-ever NHL hat trick. Here’s a nugget for ya! He also became only the fourth guy from Rhode Island to record an NHL hat trick. He had no idea they even recorded those kinds of stats, but said “It’s cool to join that group.
— Lemon City Live (@LemonCityLive) December 17, 2019
Jonathan Huberdeau had himself a memorable night as well, playing in his 500th NHL game. He also needed four points to reach 400 career NHL points, which he got by assisting in four out of six Panthers goals. When asked about Huby’s assist to him, Acciari said that Huberdeau is “special with the puck”. Aaron Ekblad also notched two assists. He leads all defensemen in goals, second only to Keith Yandle in assists, and has the best +- on the team with +11 coming into this game.
How Cats stray from losing streaks
Only Aleksander Barkov’s goal came from a power-play. The rest were even strength. That sounds nice, but the Panthers had almost nine minutes of power-play time, created opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize that advantage into more than one goal. I’d like to see Florida score more power-play goals. They aren’t bad, ranking #8 in the NHL, but improving in this area would improve their consistency in the offense. It’ll probably prevent another elongated Panthers losing streak as well.
Next up, the Cats face the Dallas Stars to close out their homestand on Friday, December 20th. Dallas comes in with a 19-11-4 record. If the Panthers can score in a manner consistent with their ranking, and Bobrovsky continues denying his milkshake to the boys in the yard, you can count on the Panthers to rack up another W, and at the very least go above .500 in their homestand.