On Saturday afternoon, as the Florida Panthers were on their way to a Game 3 loss to the Washington Capitals, fans of the team flooded social media with messages of gloom and doom.
According to some, the Panthers’ loss meant they may as well fly and home and clean out their lockers.
The Panthers, yes, are down in the series.
They will practice on Sunday, play another game on Monday.
”That’s the playoffs. We’re down 2-1 and the next game is going to be important,” Jonathan Huberdeau said.
The Panthers have their backs up against it a little following the 6-1 loss on Saturday afternoon, but this series simply is far from being over.
With a win in Game 4 on Monday night, the Panthers would tie the series up coming back to Sunrise for Game 5.
Of course, if the Panthers play like this again on Monday, they would be in some serious trouble.
Florida is not going to beat many teams playing the way it did on Saturday, much less a hungry, veteran-laded team playing at home.
“Hopefully mad,” coach Andrew Brunette said when asked how he hopes his team responds to the loss. “I think the story so far is that they have out-competed us, out-willed us in every puck battle and in every area. We’re going to have to figure it out here.”
The Panthers got off to a hot start Saturday with Huberdeau scoring a pretty goal after outracing Alex Ovechkin to a puck heading toward the corner then quickly getting up ice to take in a pass from Anthony Duclair 2:45 in.
After that, however, Washington was able to control the pace of play as the Panthers took a number of penalties. Washington cashed in.
Florida is 0-9 on the power play in this series while the Capitals have scored on four chances — including twice on Saturday.
The Panthers, who have seemingly scored their way out of trouble during the regular season, are finding that harder to do against the Capitals.
Mistakes made by the Panthers are costing them dearly in this series.
“Frustration is taking over for some reason,” Brunette said. “When you get frustrated, it means you’re not working hard enough. Our compete has not been what it has been all year. Again, it could be nerves. But when you get frustrated, you’re not working hard. That’s kind of the case right now.”
Although the better team, Florida is struggling to sustain puck possession for long stretches of time and create quality scoring chances.
They got them in Game 2 and will have to again.
“I think we’re playing a little nervous, not playing the game we need to be playing,” Huberdeau said. “I think we’re a way better team and tonight happened and we need to forget about it. …
“We just have to focus on yourself and everyone has to give more. That’s what we talked about in the room. Obviously, down 2-1 on the road, it is important we get that win. We are way better, a way better team and I think we’ll come out in Game 4 and be the better team.”
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
PANTHERS V. CAPITALS (WSH leads 2-1)
- Game 4: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, TBS
- Radio: WQAM 560 (Miami/Fort Lauderdale); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
PANTHERS V. CAPITALS
- Regular season series — Florida won 2-1: @Florida 5, Washington 4 OT (Nov. 4); @Washington 4, Panthers 3 (Nov. 26); @Florida 5, Washington 4 (Nov. 30)
- All-time regular season series: Capitals lead 67-44-11, 9 ties
- Playoff history: First meeting
- First-round schedule — Game 1: Washington 4, @Florida 2; Game 2: @Florida 5, Washington 1; Game 3: @Washington 6, Florida 1; Game 4: Florida at Washington, Monday, 7 (TBS/BSF); Game 5: Washington at Florida, Wednesday, 7:30 (ESPN2/BSF); Game 6*: Florida at Washington, Friday; Game 7: Washington at Florida, May 15. *If necessary