A little adversity may be a good thing for the Florida Panthers
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TAMPA — Teams have gone through a lot more adversity than the Florida Panthers have traversed through, that is for sure.
Yeah, things are pretty good when one of the worst thing a team has had to weather is a four-game losing streak — which includes two either in a shootout or overtime.
The Panthers have been through a little bit, though, in the past few weeks and this four-game slide is just part of it.
It has only been two-plus weeks since their Hall of Fame coach abruptly resigned as part of a sexual assault scandal from 2010.
Now comes the team’s longest losing streak — or, winless streak as the NHL would prefer — since March 2020.
When things are put into perspective, though, the Panthers are still sitting atop the NHL as their 10-0-1 start banked plenty of points in the standings.
And, of the 15 games this season, Florida has at least a point in 13 of them.
There isn’t a team in the NHL which wouldn’t take that — save, perhaps, for Carolina.
These tough times really don’t appear to be all that rough.
But the Panthers have become a bit spoiled with how this season started.
Adversity, even a hint of it, can sometimes help a team.
“Yeah, it could be,” captain Sasha Barkov said after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the host Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Sometimes when you win a lot of games, you get really high and you just feel like everything is going your way. I don’t know if it’s that is what’s (going on now), but sometimes it goes like this. You’re not winning games, you’re not getting the bounces. It humbles you, kind of. You work even harder.
”We know we have a really good group here. When we play the right way, it’s really tough to play against us. That’s how we need to play.”
[RELATED: Panthers find goals when Brunette shuffles lines, reunites Barkov and Huberdeau]
Interim coach Andrew Brunette, whose team has picked up nine of the available 16 points since he replaced Joel Quenneville in Oct. 28, says his team is still doing a lot of the right things even if they are not finding the results they want.
Earlier in the year, the Panthers would have probably won that game in Pittsburgh instead of losing in the shootout. They probably would have found a way to get another goal past Andrei Vasilevskiy on Saturday, too.
But right now, things just have not been falling Florida’s way. Some of it is on what they have been doing and some of it is on their opponent. Regardless, the Panthers have the opportunity to get back on track Tuesday night against the visiting Islanders.
That, right now, is their focus.
Florida, which is 6-0 in Sunrise this season and hasn’t lost in the regular season since April 22, kicks off a four-game homestand that runs through Thanksgiving.
”It’s the NHL. It is hard to win every night,” Brunette said. “Would we have liked to win every night? Of course. Early in the year, we were winning games like this and we left here feeling great. There are ebbs and flows to a season.
“I think it is important we go through this a little bit, especially Monday and Tuesday and a little bit on (Thursday) where we weren’t playing the right way all the time. (Saturday) and the second half of the Pittsburgh game, we were doing the right things.
“To maintain success, you have to do those things so sometimes it is good to go through this. We hope we realize it is a hard league and there are going to be nights like tonight.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: ESPN+ / Hulu
- RADIO: WQAM 560
- Last season: Did not play
- This season: Florida 5, Islanders 1 (Oct. 15)
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And now we find out if Brunette can coach this team, When things are going good, the team is running on autopilot.
That’s why I think having Joe Thornton as a player/coach would be a dream.
Like you said, this team runs on autopilot when things are good.
He could be in the lineup, and have the same coaches as they do right now. When he decides to scratch himself, he can go behind the bench.
I mean, th e first player/coach in 53 years or so might be a positive for this franchise that has had some unfortunate negative press this season. Figure out a permanent coach in the offseason.