Reporting Tim Kephart
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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The NHL has declared that hockey’s back, but watching the Florida Panthers over the last week makes one question if the team got the memo the lockout had ended.
In the last four games, the Panthers have been outscored 18-2 including Saturday’s 7-1 abomination against the Philadelphia Flyers. While the Cats have been dealing with injuries to multiple players, no one was expecting this poor of a start.
Head coach Kevin Dineen told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that players should get ready for a “miserable couple of days” after Saturday’s loss to Philadelphia.
“You come off an embarrassing game at home, you don’t like that in front of your fans, so there it is, it’s on our scorecard, so you got to deal with it,” Dineen said.
Florida is missing multiple forwards including Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss and defenseman Erik Gudbranson. Still, even with the addition of rookie Jonathan Huberdeau’s scoring ability; the Panthers haven’t been able to buy a goal.
Most of the games in the past week have been spent playing in their own zone and trying to kill off opponents’ power play opportunities. Eventually, the defense will break if it has to spend all of its time against its back, and that’s what happened against the Flyers.
“Our defense was atrocious,” Dineen told the Sun-Sentinel. “We’re a bunch of individuals right now. We don’t have the chemistry to play as a team. I hate sitting in these things and beating up on your people, it’s just stupid.”
The Panthers have little time to fix their issues in the compact regular season. The Cats play at Tampa Bay on Tuesday and then welcome the Winnipeg Jets into the BB&T Center on Thursday. Florida will then get a two day reprieve before playing four games on the road in seven days the next week.