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Rangers Bounce Back, Bounce Panthers: Florida Officially Eliminated from Postseason Consideration

CansecotribeRANGERS 4, PANTHERS 1

Pete DeBoer knows with the Panthers being out of the playoff hunt, he should be looking to the future and letting some of his younger players get big minutes so they can be properly evaluated.

The problem is he loves winning too much – and hates losing even more.

“I got a good night sleep after that win in Boston,'' he said Saturday morning. “It was the first one in a long time. That's my motivation.''

The thought here is DeBoer didn't sleep very well Saturday night, not after the Panthers gave up four goals in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Rangers in Sunrise.

The loss was Florida's eighth in 11 games and officially eliminated them from postseason contention for an NHL record tying ninth season and record setting 10th year.

“It's obviously not something you look forward to at the start of the year, but you have to play consistent hockey to make the playoffs and we didn't do that,'' said captain Bryan McCabe.

“We were up and down all year. You don't get into those slides where you lose five or six in a row – and we did that three or four time this year. We don't deserve it.''

After a first period that had to have fans at home watching Butler basketball instead, the Panthers got things going in the second and took a 1-0 lead when Keith Ballard kept his scoring touch going by freezing Henrik Lundqvist before blasting a shot from the left circle. Ballard has three goals in four games and tied his career high (eight) in goals in a season.

Scott Clemmensen, fresh off a 1-0 shutout win in Boston, was solid as he held the playoff hopeful Rangers at bay. But Clemmensen didn't get much help in the third period as the Blueshirts – with legend Mark Messier watching from the pressbox – tied it 18 seconds into the third on a shot from Marc Staal. The puck appeared to bounce off McCabe's stick.

“That's exactly what they needed to get back into the game,'' said DeBoer. “Momentum shifted and we never got it back. But, again, we got one goal tonight and it came from a defenseman.''

The Rangers added three more in the third, with two coming within a two minute span as Brandon Prust scored on a backhanded shovel shot from in front of the net at 9:37 for the lead. A few moments later, Stephen Weiss was robbed of the puck at center ice and the Rangers turned that into a Chris Drury goal at 11:06.

And that was that – save for an empty net goal with a minute left.

Florida dropped to 21-3-6 when leading after two periods as the Rangers won for the first time this season when trailing going into the third. New York is now 1-24-2 in such situations.

“One goal isn't enough,'' said Ballard, who has both of Florida's goals in the past two games. “We put ourselves in this position.''


Defenseman Bryan Allen injured his ribs during Thursday's win in Boston and although nothing is fractured, DeBoer says the pain is intense enough that Allen not only missed Saturday's game but is doubtful for the final week of games as well.

“This is a guy who has a pretty high pain tolerance,'' said DeBoer. “If he's in pain, it's real pain.''

With Allen out, the Panthers recalled Clay Wilson from Florida's AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y. Florida also sent back enforcer Steve MacIntyre and called up Mike Duco.

Wilson had played in 14 NHL games with Columbus and Atlanta but made his Panthers debut on Saturday. Duco made his NHL debut with the Panthers on Dec. 2 and was sent back to Rochester after nine games. Wilson was a second-team All-AHL selection this season.

“I didn't know much about Duco before training camp, but he's been impressive,'' said center Jeff Taffe, who played with both players in Rochester. “Clay is a very offensive defenseman who sees the ice very well and plays a ton of minutes in the AHL. It's nice for him to be rewarded. He's a point getter. I hope that transitions into the NHL.''

-- Winger Rostislav Olesz was back after missing two games with a hand injury. DeBoer said Gregory Campbell (foot) is expected back Tuesday against Ottawa. Byron Bitz (elbow) skated on Saturday morning, but his return has not been determined. Victor Oreskovich (lower body) also missed Saturday's game.

-- Bryan McCabe was named the team's defensive player of the month for March. Former goalie John Vanbiesbrouck presented McCabe with his award.

-- With Wilson in the lineup, Florida played with three defensemen who have played a large chunk of the season in Rochester as well as 19-year-old rookie Dmitry Kulikov.


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Interesting note in an otherwise uninteresting game. The Panthers have the least home wins of any team in the NHL.

He only cares about his sleep now? Let's not evaluate players for next season? I wonder if Deboer thinks that he is gone next week...

deboer is a loser.

Seguin/Hall/Fowler...here we come!

If it wasn't for the goalies, the panthers would have won less than 25 games this season.

If they pick Fowler then they are crazy, ESPN's scouting report on the guy is that he has talent but lacks hockey sense.

We don't need another guy with ability and no heart or sense. We need guys that accept their roles and play to win the game.

Sexton said we only need 5-7 players.

I wonder if that is the 7 guys still left when Jokinen left 2 years ago.

Make no mistake, this is Sexton's and JM's roster.

We need to clean house even if it means 15 new players.

Following Sexton's plan, I am afraid we haven't bottomed out yet.

Sexton is conservative and we don't need that.

Look at Burke in Toronto, he takes chances, they don't always work.

You can't be afraid to fail or you won't get anywhere, i.e. the Panthers of this century.

Clean house now!!!!!!

Obviously my hope is for one of those 2 (Hall/Sequin) guys.

I agree about Burke, at least he does something. He went out & nabbed his top scorer in Kessel, drafted a good young center from my alma meter (Denver) in Bozak, and made a ballsy move by getting Phaneuf for not a king's ransom.

Clean house up to the draft & do something for once in free agency.

Dvorak, Campbell, Horon, stillman, olesz, reinprecht, Mc Cabe..... I want them all gone. Keep Weiss, Mcardle, Mathias, Booth, Allen, Ballard, Thats it ... retool this joke of a franchise... this is getting ridiculous....9 fn yrs ...ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!

We are not that far away...We have good, young talent on both D and O and our strong in goal.

A full blown backing up of the truck is necessary. No one is exempt. A good point was made by a fan that sits next to me and I couldn't agree more: "Some of these guys are getting tired of the losing. We should probably move as much stuff as we can. Bad attidudes are going to surface.

Weiss, Horton, Stillman, Rhino, Campbell, Kreps, Olesz and even Ballard, who has been inconsistent this year can all go. Weiss is NOT a number one center. If he was as good as some people thought, he wouldn't have gone into the scoring funk he did when Horton got hurt. No reason he shouldn't have 30 or more goals.
Rhino? Overpaid third line center playing on the second line. Will barely get 40 points.
Terrible signing, and even worse expectaions.

These guys arre all losing, and not producing like the orgainization thought they would.

Move on. Take some chances. Problem is we don't have the right GM to do that. Unless we hire a new one on April 12th or at some point before the draft, it's going to be a disappointing summer.

"Some of these guys are getting tired of the losing."

I said that about Luongo when he went to arbitration and started the end of his time here. I said it about Bouw and Jokinen also. But its amazing how some people are saying things I said 5 years ago...

Funny fact, Brian Burke was available to become Panthers GM when Keenan and Martin were brought in as a package deal. Something many denied was the case for the two at the time, including Keenan and Martin. Anaheim went on to win a Cup, and Florida only got worse.

George, where do I send my resume for the Panthers' GM job?

I wonder if Randy would be bold enough to make an offer sheet to another team's restricted free agent? We make an offer of up to $3M for a decent RFA, and use our 2nd round pick in 2011 as compensation.

Wow......I apologize, Ollie. I miss you!

EJ, Bobby Ryan will be lookin at close to $5 million per. Wolski is already makin $3 per. And other than guys 5'11" or shorter, who do you think is worth $3 mil per plus draft picks? There really isn't anyone.

Here's a list for you to look at... http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/2010-nhl-restricted-free-agents-by-team/

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