BOSTON–Stifled for two periods by a Bruins defense that gave no ground in front of the net for two periods, the Florida Panthers lost 3-1 Saturday afternoon.
Reilly Smith had the lone goal for the Panthers in the third period, who took advantage of Boston’s defense-first strategy and applied enough pressure to outshoot the victor’s 27-24. The Panthers rally was extinguished when Roberto Luongo was almost to the bench for an extra attacker when Brad Marchand forced the puck off Jaromir Jagr’s stick at the blue line, then scored an empty net goal for a 3-1 Boston lead. After the game most of the team did not speak to reporters, a reflection of their disappointment in the game. The highlights, err, lowlights are offered below from nhl.com.
The Panthers had to do some line shuffling after center Derek MacKenzie was injured, resulting in a breakup of the Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr line. In a rare occurrence Jagr had more hits (2) than shots (0), though was looking for rebounds that never came off of Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask who after two periods enjoyed a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Ryan Spooner.
Today we’re going to share three charts: the Atlantic Division standings, a breakdown of the season through 30 games by 10-game segment, which also ties in Jagr’s performance in those segments, and the Jagr-O-Meter, which shows Jagr’s career totals and upcoming milestones. After the serious stuff, some fun Jagr stuff.
Through 30 games the Panthers are within three points of Boston for the third position in the Atlantic Division and trail Ottawa (35 points), New Jersey (34) and Pittsburgh (33) for the two wild card positions of the NHL’s Eastern Conference. If this were April 1, there might be concern, but there are 52 games remaining in the season. With the third best defense in the division and the eight best in the 16-team conference, the Panthers are keeping themselves in nearly every game.
Our next chart shows the Panthers record in each 10-game segment as well as Jagr’s production. The 10-games by Barkov during his injury hurt Jagr and the team’s reshuffled lines. Barkov is back but now Nick Bjugstad is lost for an unknown number of games. This leaves the Panthers without a top center and the situation is worsened by the injury to Derek MacKenzie, who left the Boston game with assistance and is still being evaluated.
As noted above, the team completed its 10-best game segment at 6-4-0, highlighted by a 5-five game winning streak, including four straight on the road. Playing 6-4 in 10-segments for the rest of the season would leave the Panthers with about 93 points, which would leave them where they are now, on the edge of the playoffs. While Boston is in third now, it took an unsustainable 7-1-2 run to get there, and they are surprising a lot of people in the hockey world, some who thought coach Claude Julien should have been replaced during the off-season. Winning six of 10 means looking great more often than you look bad so enjoy the great games and don’t get down over the games. We like the even-tempered Gerard Galliant behind the Panthers bench. He makes adjustments and has won most of his goal challenges which have been impactful in many close games.
Starting Sunday, Dec. 20, the Panthers play six games at BB&T Center stretching to Sunday, Jan. 3. Tickets for home games available at http://www.floridapanthers.com. The team is offering some great fan packages and remain a professional sports bargain.
Some fun Jagr stuff shared on-line this week. From Jagr himself on his facebook page.
An interesting about Jagr’s facebook is so many of his Czech countrymen chime in on their nation’s most famous citizen. You can feel the love for him if your translation function is working. He’s a legend there, and this next video shows how larger than life he is in the Republic:
Jagr’s workout and routine are part public knowledge, part secret. In this post Jagr discusses his favorite elixir:
ALL-STAR UPDATE: With less than three weeks remaining to vote, Jaromir Jagr has most the most votes in the Atlantic division. The exact number of votes is unknown, but the next leading candidate in the division is Montreal’s PK Subban, who is seventh overall. The top player in each division will serve as captain for his team in the first-ever 3-on-3 all star tournament. Jagr has graciously thanked fans for their support and has asked they vote for younger players. Perhaps fearing this may be his last season (we don’t think so or at least hope not) fans continue to vote for Jagr. It isn’t easy. Once a voter figures out the ballot they have to scroll to the second page of the ballot, which is being conducted with registered members of the website www.nhl.com
Had enough? Check through the resource notes below. As always, we thank our readers from around the world who celebrate the career of Jaromir Jagr.