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This loss for the Florida Panthers brings out a number of cliches.
“Playing down to the competition”.
“Missed opportunities hurt”.
After their fourth consecutive defeat, the adjectives that follow may not be for the faint of heart.
Ottawa entered the game having lost seven straight but looked like the team fighting for playoff seeding. The Senators just fired their previous coach Guy Bucher on Friday, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Florida started strong as they have tended to do before collapsing late. The Cats led 2-1 after the first after goals from Aleksander Barkov (28) and Troy Brouwer (9), Barkov has goals in four of the last six games.
Ottawa for whatever reason seemed to “want it more”. The Senators landed 30 hits compared to just 21 for the Panthers.
A power play goal by Rudolfs Balcers (4) put the recently beleaguered bunch from Ottawa ahead to stay. The Senators converted one-of-three power play opportunities while Florida did not convert on their two chances.
It pains to write that the NHL playoffs seem like a near impossibility for the Cats. Every time they seem to right the ship and make a run, the wheels fall off.
In 2019 the Panthers have already endured a seven-game and four-game losing streak. They also have managed two separate three-win spurts, and in two other instances have won two straight.
Talk about a roller coaster.
Sustained success is important, but for the Panthers sustained losing leaves no room for error. Florida’s 11 overtime losses are tied for second-most in the NHL.
Yes they managed a single point in those instances, but if you convert half of those into wins you are right in the mix.
As of this writing the Panthers trail Montreal by 10 points in the wildcard standings with 17 games to go.
Ten of those games are on the road.
Florida begins a two game Northeast swing Tuesday when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins, followed by Boston Thursday.