After seemingly lighting up the sports world as the team of destiny this NHL postseason, the Florida Panthers have crashed back down to earth in the past two games. The Panthers have been getting steamrolled by the Vegas Golden Knights by scores of 5-2 and 6-2 in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.
In the latter of the two games, Florida’s star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had to be pulled just minutes into the second period after Vegas scored their 4th goal on 13 shots.
Alex Lyon replaced Bobrovsky and couldn’t manage any better, only saving 12 of the 15 shots he faced in his relief effort.
The Panthers cannot continue to rely on absolutely perfect play from their goalies to keep them in every game and will need to change their game plan on both ends of the ice.
Many would claim you aren’t truly in trouble until you lose at home. However, calls or no-calls, Florida has appeared to be overwhelmed by Vegas’ defensive scheme and ability to truly roll with fluid 4 lines.
Florida has had to deal with serious adversity in their magical playoff run already, falling down 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, only to come back and win in 7 games.
The Panthers are losing the mental warfare of this series, especially after dropping the first two games. Florida is not playing the typical game of hockey they played the whole playoffs. On top of the Florida Panthers’ decline in play, Vegas has not bit on Florida’s attempts to lure them into taking penalties.
Coach Paul Maurice
The Panthers need to adjust their game in every zone of the ice to have a chance to claw back in this series. This process starts with head coach Paul Maurice and must be effectively taught to the players.
Maurice has proven he can make adjustments on the fly this postseason, and while Games 1 and 2 didn’t fall the Panthers way, fans should feel optimistic about the Panthers’ chances after an extra day of layoff.
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