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The Florida Panthers continue to hold a top-three spot in the Atlantic Division with 36 points and a record of 17-10-2 behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.

But they are slowly losing ground for that spot. The Cats just got started on a long road trip. And the start has been extremely disappointing.

Panthers Fall to Kraken 4-0

The Panthers started their long trip this past Tuesday (Dec. 12) in Seattle, Washington against the NHL’s newest franchise in the Seattle Kraken. This is a team they have only one win against all-time in their barn, and it will continue to be that way until hopefully next season.

The Panthers could not find the back of the net at all. They had three power play opportunities and failed to capitalize on any of them. In addition, they were not hitting the net as much as they only had one more shot on goal than Seattle with 24 to 23. Furthermore, they were dominated in the circle as they only had a 43.1% win rate.

Dmitry Kulikov of the Florida Panthers went minus-1 against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The worst part about this loss? The Kraken ended an eight-game losing streak that night.

Panthers Continue Scoreless Ways Against Canucks 4-0

This past Thursday (Dec. 14) was no different. The Panthers could not find a way to solve Thatcher Demko and were shut out once again by the streaking Vancouver Canucks. The team doubled their shots on goal and hit the net 36 times compared to 18. But once again, they failed to convert on the power play.

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Sergei Bobrovsky also had one of the worst games of his career in net. He allowed four goals on 17 shots. Backup Anthony Stolarz came in and made a single save.

The only pass they will get is that forwards Anton Lundell and Jonah Gadjovich were out of the lineup last minute, forcing other players to grab extended shifts. But past that, this loss was just as pathetic as the one against the Kraken.

Offense Fails to Produce, and It’s an Issue

For years, the Panthers have had a dynamic offense. Even this season, they are producing at a high level with the third-best shots per game with 33.7 shots a game. But even then, their goals-per-game is ranked the ninth worst with 2.93 a game.

Even some of their top forwards have struggled to score all season long. Matthew Tkachuk only has five goals on the year while Sam Bennett only has four.

For a team that shoots a lot, how could they not find the back of the net over the last two games? Sixty shots on goal in that span and nothing to show for it.

Bobrovsky Can’t Get It Done

In those last two games, Bobrovsky has been terrible for his team. He’s allowed seven straight goals on 41 shots through two starts. This comes after a stretch where he went 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average (GAA) and a .941 save percentage (SV%).

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If he continues this path, it will be yet another season of inconsistency from the Russian netminder. And with that, it will be another $10 million wasted from the contract signed by former general manager Dale Tallon.

Will it be Fixed?

Thankfully, the Panthers padded their lead in the standings earlier on in the season, so they could afford a couple of losses. But as the season progresses, their lack of intensity could ultimately be their downfall. They need to start their turnaround against the Edmonton Oilers tonight (Dec. 16), a team they’ve already beaten once this season.

Head coach Paul Maurice needs to rethink his strategy and his lines and fast. Or they may need some help to get into the postseason like last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in which they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks that caused Florida to clinch a spot.

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