Pretty much pretty. The President’s Trophy-winning Florida Panthers were abandoned by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their tragic final game on Monday, incredibly, doubled as the first game they had been off the entire season. Andrei Vasilevsky made 49 saves to end the series with a .980 save percentage, scoring just three goals in four games, the league’s highest scoring offense. In front of him last night, Tampa scored two unbeaten goals and then finally scored a legal goal – the only one they have surpassed Sergei Babrovsky, before adding an empty-netter. You’ll have trouble explaining to me that Wade-Off goals weren’t part of some Championship Mind games. Neurotransmitters, synapses, you know. Surely every hockey player has a DEJECTION chemical in his brain which is triggered by a round horn heard on the street.
By the time they reached the second round, Florida’s regular season of high-octane (not part of writing about the Panthers without the word “high-octane”) was over. An old, slow-moving Capitals team gave them some problems in the first round. If the Capitals can’t really get the job done on their own, they’ve shown you how to do it: Limit the Florida Rush Crime Neutral Zone and see if you can’t get the edge of special teams. Tampa survives to do that. (Just ask Leafs how Lightning kills with special teams, even when they’re not clicking anywhere else.) And Tampa did! The Florida power play, converted 24 percent in the regular season, has gone completely cold. Funny enough, this series was actually going to be a 13 for 1 in the power play An improvement In the last round, where the Panthers were 0 for 18. “It has already been the cause of my sleepless nights,” said interim head coach Andrew Brunett last night, blaming the special teams entirely. “It could be the cause of my sleepless summer.”
In the regular season, I would often see the Panthers overtake some bad team or other team and think, Wow, how do you ever lose? They go down in maintenance with their speed. They never let go of the opponent’s mistake. The transition game has achieved amazing things: it seemed that a Panthers D-Man would take over and BAM!, Just like that, everyone’s legs were moving, and they were a strange-human crowd. When the Panthers play a good team, the losses – if still rare – become a little easier to imagine. Goaltending came and went. The defenders were prone to strange Pak management decisions and dumb punishment; Both, I would say, have proven fatal against Tampa. The Panthers’ star players all had an irresistible series. I will argue that Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeu were invisible, arguing that they were sometimes apparently bad. In the first round, Florida hero Carter Verhage ended the season meaningless with just seven shots in four games. It tracks an offense that, according to a rough estimate, could dry up the playoffs with 80 or 90 goals from the defensive break of the Detroit Red Wings, where there are fewer breakdowns and the Detroit Red Wings do not have to be exploited.
Don’t look too bad, Panthers. By going to the second round, you have exceeded my expectations; I picked Washington to win six. I wish I had put this suspicion in writing before the playoffs started to make them look more like brain geniuses and less people jump after the fact that they are “mentally fragile” and “don’t know how to win.” But let me swoop anyway. Please. I’ve been waiting a few months to do this: Jonathan Huberdeau is a secondary assistant merchant. Carried by Anton Lundell Mason Marchment. Mason Marchment was carried by Sam Rainhart. Barkov? Yes, I would say peel off; He does not have that stain. Mackenzie Weiger lacks real feeling for the game. Claude G-K? Only one panther has made it to my boys list this year: Maxim Mamin. The Rangers had more control wins. A dumb sports radio mini scandal ruined them all! You can buy lower-ball tickets for the first two games of the series for 100. Unusual suffrage. Mentally fragile. And if you ask me, they don’t know how to win.