The Florida Panthers had a shot on Friday for a third consecutive win. They could’ve inched closer to the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
On home ice, however, they surrendered a hat trick to John Tavares and lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders, who also outshot the Panthers 42-29 overall. More concerning was how the visitors were able to take over in the puck possession game in the final period.
Injuries to key players have piled up all season for the Panthers. It certainly hurts when your two best forwards, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, spend prolonged periods of time out of the lineup because of injury.
But frustration about consistency, or the lack of, has been growing for the Panthers.
Still, a three-game winning streak continues to elude the Panthers, per the Sun Sentinel.
“It was a rough game all around,” said Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. “We came out flat. We weren’t ready to play as a team, myself included. They were hungrier. They got called out by their coach … and the bottom line is they wanted it more. They were in the lead in the third and they kept coming. It’s frustrating. You think we’re making good strikes on the road, we come home and play like that.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier.
They welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team fighting for top spot in the Metropolitan Division, on Saturday. Next week, it’s a trip to Western Canada for three games (versus the Flames, Oilers and Canucks) in four nights.