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Panthers Facing a Very Tall Task

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After two dominant performances from Vegas to open the series, we’re heading back to Florida with the Panthers already on the ropes. After Game 2, the Golden Knights are massive favorites to come away with Lord Stanley and given the way the games have gone so far, it’s easy to see why. Being the underdog is nothing new for Florida, but things will have to change if they want any shot at getting back into this series.  

Things Going Wrong

A lot of praise should go to Vegas, but the Panthers haven’t been the same team after their extensive break in between series. The change has been most apparent in the crease, where Sergei Bobrovsky’s magic has seemingly worn off. The veteran goaltender, who’s been fantastic for the Cats on their improbable run, holds an .826 save percentage in the series and was pulled in Game 2 after allowing four goals on thirteen shots. For the Panthers to grab two vital wins at home, Bobrovsky will need to be much better.  

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the issues don’t stop in net. In fact, the only way Bob is going to be better is if the team in front of him improves greatly as well. Through two games, Florida has let up far too many ‘Grade A’ scoring chances and hasn’t been good at all on special teams. Vegas, on the other hand, scored 12 goals in two games, hasn’t allowed a powerplay goal against, and scored four themselves with the man advantage. The opportunistic scoring of the Golden Knights has been a problem for each of their opponents, and the last thing Florida can afford to do is give them even more opportunities to get on the board.

Not Dead Yet

Now that they’re home, the Panthers need a quick reset. They’ll need to continue playing with their physical edge yet find a way to stay out of the penalty box. They’ll also need to find a way to be better defensively while not sacrificing their offence. Clearly, the task is tall, but certainly not impossible. After all, this is still the same team that won three straight games against the Boston Bruins to win in seven games and then take out Carolina and Toronto in just nine tilts combined.

Why wouldn’t one of the biggest underdog stories in NHL history end with the first 2-0 comeback in over ten years? 


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