Coming off one of their worst performances of the season, a 4-0 loss to Boston on Saturday, the Florida Panthers will get a chance at redemption tonight in New Jersey.
Tonight’s game also marks the start of an eight-game stretch where the Panthers will play six times on the road.
Four points back of a playoff spot, Florida has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL, and the only one to fire its coach.
“Our consistency is terrible,” forward Jonathan Marchessault said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t even think we have a three-game winning streak. It’s hard to be a good team when we can’t even get on a streak.”
It’s also hard with all the injuries the Panthers have been forced to endure. Currently, there are five players on IR: Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Petrovic, Seth Griffith, and Jonathan Huberdeau, the latter of whom has yet to play a game this season (and isn’t expected back until next month).
“We can’t use [injuries] as an excuse,” Marchessault countered. “I think good teams just find a way to win and keep it simple. We’re not doing that. That’s why we keep losing.”
Unlike at the start of the season, the Panthers can’t even say they’ve been a good puck-possession team lately. In their last 10 games, their score-adjusted Corsi ranks 22nd out of 30. On Saturday, they were outshot 35-27 by the Bruins.
The loss of Barkov is surely related to some of their recent poor performances, but they’d better figure out how to get some wins without him, because he’s not going to be back anytime soon.
From the Sun-Sentinel:
Barkov and Petrovic are still about three weeks away, Rowe said. Griffith could return within a week, but Bjugstad will be out at least two; McKegg’s status was undetermined. Huberdeau is still targeted for late February.