Panthers coach wants team to ‘let it burn’ after Game 3 loss to Rangers

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice was in no mood for jokes after watching his team lose another overtime game to the New York Rangers. From the moment Alex Wennberg tipped Ryan Lindgren’s point shot to win Game 3 by a 5-4 score, he appeared to be seething on the bench.

How can you blame him? His team out-attempted the Rangers by a 108-44 margin, and outshot them 37 to 23 on Sunday. Yet, they find themselves down 2-1 in this Eastern Conference Final series looking for answers.

“Sometimes you want to keep the growl,” Maurice said afterwards. “A lot of times in the playoffs it’s about making sure you keep that energy full. You cut off losses and let it go. But then there’s times you want to keep it, eat it, and let it burn for a while to find a different energy source. I think you put up whatever we put up, and you don’t come away with a win we should be a little growly.”

Related: Rangers commit highway robbery in Florida

Panthers will be ‘growly’ against Rangers in Game 4

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Florida Panthers
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, Maurice wasn’t the only one upset after the loss. To a man, the Panthers looked almost baffled with how they dropped a game in which they dominated based on analytics.

“Obviously, not happy with the end result,” Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov lamented. “We were down 4-2, came back, and we were all pumped up, excited. There were some good things we can take into the next game.”

Sam Reinhart, who scored two power-play goals in the contest during the first period, appeared stunned during his postgame interview still gave the most profound explanation.

“Anytime you lose a close one like that, it’s obviously frustrating,” he noted. “You can say we dominated, but then you look at the mistakes that lead to their goals, there’s areas of improvement for sure.”

While the shot attempts were clearly in Florida’s favor, according to NHL Edge, New York actually had a 10-8 advantage in high-danger shots.

Alexis Lafreniere certainly posted several of those shots, putting home two beautiful backhands past Sergei Bobrovsky. On his first goal early in the opening frame, he flew past the Panthers defense going high glove-side. He followed that up with easily a finalist for best goal of these playoffs by going coast-to-coast, busting through a sea of red jerseys, and ending with Bobrovsky on his backside.

Then there was Barclay Goodrow, who has been on an absolute tear with three of the Rangers last six goals, including the overtime winner in Game 2. On his first goal, the Panthers left him all alone in the high-slot to tip one past Bobrovsky. That was followed by lazy back-checking as he blasted a top shelf shorthanded-goal near the end of the second period.

Apparently learning nothing from Goodrow’s first goal, Florida allowed Wennberg to skate all alone to the front of the net, where he had no pressure to redirect a long shot behind Bobrovsky for the winner.

At the end of the day, Igor Shesterkin made all the big stops needed to set up the steal. However, the Panthers should stop whining about how many shots went wide or were blocked, because their defensive lapses is probably what robbed them of the win on Sunday.

Honestly, I would be pretty growly too.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

Mentioned in this article:

More About: