Panthers Fall To Sabres 5-2
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
SUNRISE – There are no easy answers following this game for the Panthers.
Despite all the hope offered by Friday’s 4-2 victory over the Flyers – despite the promise of getting off to a fast start this season – the Panthers spontaneously combusted Wednesday evening at BankAtlantic Center.
Blink and you missed it.
Less than two minutes into their game against the Sabres, the Panthers were down 2-0 and had pulled starting goalie Scott Clemmensen
. Less than five minutes into the game, they were down 3-0 and had been outshot 10-1. By the time the first 20 minutes were over, the Panthers had allowed five goals and were on their way to a 5-2 loss.
“We weren’t ready,” said coach Peter DeBoer. “And that’s inexcusable.”
The Panthers, who fell to 2-5, will have to correct things quickly since they leave Thursday for games Friday in Pittsburgh against the Stanley Cup champion Penguins and Saturday in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
“I don’t know what happened at the start,” said forward David Booth
. “You can’t get off to that kind of start against teams in this league.”
After scoring two goals Friday against the Flyers by creating traffic in the front of the net and getting second chances, the Panthers made it too easy on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller despite taking a season-high 43 shots on goal. Miller had a clear view of most of the Panthers shots and there were very few rebounds by Panther players driving to the net.
DeBoer, clearly unhappy, benched defenseman Keith Ballard in the second period and played forward Kamil Kreps only 1:28 in the first period.
Incredibly, the Panthers had a huge chance to crawl out of the wreckage at 7:31 of the opening period when they had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:02. But they couldn’t win the face-off in the Sabres end and managed only a single shot during the two-man advantage. The Panthers had five consecutive power plays but couldn’t capitalize and finished the night 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
“We had chances to get back into the game,” Booth said. “We have to generate chances. Our goals have to come from the crease and by tip-ins and getting to the net.”
For the Panthers, slow starts are becoming a bad habit. They’ve now been outscored in the first period 11-2 by their opponents.
“It’s frustrating,” DeBoer said. “We talked in our pre-game meeting about Buffalo having a good first period. They didn’t in Atlanta (Saturday) and paid the price for it with a loss. We knew what to expect. We went in eyes wide open.”
Clemmensen, who stopped 25 of 27 shots when beating the Flyers, admitted he had never been pulled faster from a game, getting called to the bench after allowing two goals on three shots in the opening 1:56. Tomas Vokoun
stopped 10 of 13 shots the remainder of the first period. The Sabres have now chased starting goalies in three of their past four games, but DeBoer didn’t throw the blame at Clemmensen for the poor start.
“We needed a spark,” he said. “We weren’t ready to play. I tried to shock them into getting themselves back into the game. Sometimes those things work, sometimes they don’t. Obviously, it didn’t tonight.
“A lot of this game is will. They out-willed us tonight.”
The Sabres are 9-2 in their last 11 games against the Panthers…Vokoun stopped 30 of 33 shots in relief of Clemmensen…Steve Reinprecht scored his second goal in as many games for the Panthers while Rostislav Olesz
added a goal with 2:13 remaining in the game…Reinprecht had five shots on goal…After getting a matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with Patrick Kaleta, Nathan Horton picked up a 10-minute misconduct when he went after Kaleta when leaving the penalty box at 15:05…
|Three star selections