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Pete DeBoer: No Bag Skate for Florida Panthers

Deboer Pete DeBoer admits he thought about putting his players through the dreaded bag skate after Wednesday night's meltdown against the Hurricanes.

Yet after letting things calm down, DeBoer decided the best way to get over the 4-3 loss to Carolina was to just put it behind them. DeBoer and the Panthers broke down the film Thursday morning then held a practice session in Coral Springs.

“We addressed what went wrong and pressed the reset button. It's an 82 game season and it's a long year,'' DeBoer said. “Your emotions run all over the place, so you have to take a step back and focus on things.''

Wednesday's loss was perhaps Florida's worst of the season. The Panthers jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the first period but did little else as Carolina scored a goal in the second before getting three more in the third to get the win.

DeBoer said he could have punished the team with making them skate nothing but laps, only he decided the best cause of action was just get back to work.

“We have another big game coming up, so we just have to put that one behind us and move on,'' captain Bryan McCabe said. “We went back to work today, did what we had to do. We know we have to play with a little more fire, a little more grit. We got a few goals thanks to some bounces, but we never dictated the play. That's what we have to do.''

A number of factors led into Wednesday's loss. With Florida leading 3-2, defenseman Mike Weaver was caught coming onto the ice with five other skaters on and Florida was charged with having too many skaters. Moments later, defenseman Jason Garrison was called for obstruction. That gave Carolina a two-man advantage with Tuomo Ruutu capitalizing by getting his first goal of the night to tie the score with 7:40 left in the period.

“We have to get the killer instinct,'' DeBoer said. “The talk on the bench and between periods from the coaches was 'lets play for the fourth goal and not just protect the lead.' That's a mindset that you have to instill daily in a young team. There's no doubt that instead of playing for the next goal, they were playing to win 3-0. That's a bad spot to be in.''

Later in the period, goalie Tomas Vokoun tried to clear the puck but instead put it right on Ruutu's stick. The Carolina winger one-timed a shot past Vokoun to give Carolina its only lead of the night.

“Those things are going to happen over the course of a season,'' DeBoer said. “You have to distinguish if it's a lack of preparation or work ethic; it's not with Vokoun. That was a mistake. People make mistakes. As tough as it is to swallow, if their heart is in the right place and they work, that happens.''

-- One bright spot for the Panthers on Wednesday was Evgeny Dadonov getting his first NHL goal. Dadonov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 29 seconds into the game.

“We talked a lot about that game, about being prepared,'' he said. “It was a huge game for us. We scored 29 seconds into it, then got a few more. I was really excited about scoring. I wanted a few more.''

-- Center Stephen Weiss didn't practice on Thursday because of an undisclosed injury, with DeBoer saying a forward could be recalled from Rochester to give the Panthers a spare just in case Weiss can't play Friday. DeBoer said Dmitry Kulikov, who was benched Wednesday, will play on Friday.

-- Rostislav Olesz was back on the ice for a post-practice session, but DeBoer says doctors have told him that Olesz isn't ready to return and is out for another week at least. Cory Stillman (back) was supposed to have a light skate Thursday but DeBoer said he wasn't ready for that.

When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
TV/Radio: No local TV; 560-WQAM
The series: Sabres lead 38-22-4
The game: After a rough start, the Sabres have stabilized a bit and come into Friday's game with wins in four of their past six. The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 win against visiting Boston as Drew Stafford scored all three goals. .-.-. The Panthers have lost two straight and lost three of four to the Sabres last season. Buffalo won both games in Sunrise last season – and have won five of the past six at BankAtlantic Center.