The Florida Panthers lost another tough one on Saturday night when John Klingberg scored a game-winning goal for the Dallas Stars with just a little more than a minute to play in regulation to send the Panthers to their fourth loss in the past five games.
Given the Panthers’ position in the playoff race those are points they can not afford to be giving away.
After the game interim coach Tom Rowe was not particularly pleased with the way his team played in some key situations, and called them out as a group for being selfish and trying to cheat for offense.
“When we’re being selfish and flying the defensive zone and not paying attention to defensive assignments that is what happens,” said Rowe.
He was asked a follow up question that specifically related to the Stars’ first goal where forward Reilly Smith seemed to lose his man in front of the net, to which Rowe responded, “We went over that exact play in team meeting and we haven’t learned our lesson yet, that is the problem.”
His criticism for Smith was not finished with that. Later in his brief meeting with the press he was asked about the Stars’ winning goal — which can be seen in the video below — and whether or not it was deflected off of a skate.
“I don’t know,” said Rowe. “All I know is Reilly Smith was blowing the zone doing exactly what he is not supposed to be doing.”
That was a common theme with Rowe’s post-game meeting with the press on Saturday: Players cheating for offense and not doing what they are supposed to be doing. You can see his entire press conference here.
This has been an incredibly frustrating season for a Panthers team that entered the year with such high hopes. They now sit two points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 18 games remaining on their schedule. It’s also been a frustrating year for Smith on an individual level. After scoring 25 goals a season ago for the Panthers he has come back this season with just 10 so far. On Saturday, he ended up getting singled out by his coach.