The Florida Panthers built up a two-goal lead early in the third period Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but that evaporated.
The Panthers eventually lost 6-5 in overtime – thanks in large part to a brilliant Steven Stamkos pass that led to Teddy Purcell tying the game late in the third period – and have now lost three consecutive games in the extra period.
“It’s all over again,” Tomas Kopecky, who scored the fifth Panthers goal, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“We lost the last game like this. We’ve got to play a full 60 minutes. We know they’re going to come out hard the last five minutes. We tried to play too cute. You’re going to have to play defensively really good, especially toward the end when we have a lead; get the pucks out and do the simple things.”
The Panthers are coming a playoff appearance last spring – their first since 2000.
However, the Panthers, now winless in their last four games, are 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 4-6-4 record.
“Right now there’s a confidence factor that plays into it,” Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told NHL.com.
“You get stung like this as many times as we have in a row, then there is a little bit of a confidence factor. But I believe we have the right guys that can go out there and get the job completed.”
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.