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SHOOTOUT WOES CONTINUE: Panthers Still Bad in the Shooting Exhibition

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Panthers have been the league's worst team since the shootout was introduced in 2005 to determine a winner in tie games. The past two weeks has been one of Florida's toughest runs yet.

Florida is currently winless in its past five games although it has points from three.

Those points came from shootout losses with Chicago, Tampa Bay and Washington all gaining the extra point as Florida was left with the loser's singular point -- as historically has been the case.

The Panthers have played in the fifth-most shootout games all-time (93) yet only five teams have fewer wins (34) and no team has more losses (59). Columbus, ranked 29th in the league, has nine fewer losses than the dead-last Panthers.

Florida's goalies have a shootout success save rate of 64 percent which is ranked 24th; Florida's shooting rate of 25 percent is last.

"I'm still confident in the options I have in the shootout,'' said coach Kevin Dineen, whose team is 1-3 in shootouts this season with all of them coming in the past six games.

"This is an area we're going to see a lot of this year. We're going to have games like this because no goals seem to come easy for us. Hopefully that pops open for us, but the shootout will probably be a big part of our season.''

The problems in the past three shootout losses are the same problems which have plagued the Panthers throughout the past decade. They are obvious problems. The Panthers don't score enough and don't stop the opposition enough.

In the Panthers 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota on Oct. 19, Florida was perfect. Not only did both Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes both score, but Tim Thomas stopped both offerings from the Wild.

Of course, Thomas is one of the better shootout goalies in the league. Thomas' 31 wins (three fewer than the Panthers have total) rank eighth among active netminders as he has gone 31-27.

In the three games without Thomas, Florida has stopped just three of 10 shootout shots while scoring on two of seven.

On Saturday, Scott Clemmensen gave up goals on all three shots faced -- including one from Brooks Laich in which he whiffed on the shot yet the puck slid between Clemmensen's skates -- with only Aleksander Barkov scoring.

Dineen said as the backup goalie, Clemmensen is at a disadvantage because he's usually the guy used as target practice for Florida's shooters.

"He gets a bucketload of shots thrown at him and it's more practice for the shooters than for his own improvement,'' Dineen said. "Sometimes that's not fair.''

Markstrom said he's always prepared for individual shooters and enjoys the challenge of trying to get the extra point for his team.

"I think it's fun because it comes down to you versus the skater,'' said Markstrom, who is 0-2 after stopping three of seven this year. "These are the best players in the world and they have the best moves. But it's tough losing them. Sometimes it comes down to luck.''

 

 

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