The Florida Panthers will be paying a visit to PPG Paints Arena this evening. They should already be in desperation mode by being nine points out of playoff spot this late in the year. Every game should be a playoff game for them.
The reason they are down in the standings is the same reason the Penguins were struggling a little while ago. The Panthers are the 30th ranked team in 5v5 save percentage. Their .902 isn’t going to win many games when you are a 47.63 xGF% team. Combine that with the 26rh ranked shooting percentage at even-strength (7.19%) and there isn’t much to suggest the team’s record should be any better. Losing Vincent Trocek to injury hurt this team, but so did losing Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith in order to protect a player they traded the next year (Petrovic).
Aleksander Barkov is a player people adorn with praise at every turn. I do think he is a very good player. I don’t think he’s having a great year when compared with his previous work.
He still has a great penalty differential, but that doesn’t make up for the 46.28 xGF%.
One thing you definitely don’t want to mess around with is the thought of Barkov in a shootout. The Panthers might as well start with a one goal advantage. He’s that good. I love watching him showcase the synergy between his creativity and his hands.
Thanks for reading!