SUNRISE – The Panthers have tallied 72 shots in their past two games, more than both opponents, but have just one goal to show for it in consecutive losses.
The Panthers’ 2.28 goals per game through last week’s games ranked higher than only one NHL team: Buffalo (1.84).
In Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to the Canadiens, the Panthers generated 30 scoring chances, twice as many as the Canadiens, Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. They also finished with a 37-19 edge in shots, including 27-8 in the final two periods.
“When you get that many shots, there are bound to be good looks and good chances,” said winger Brad Boyes, who scored the team’s lone goal with 3:51 left in the second. “We had a couple of good looks inside, a couple of rebound opportunities we didn’t put in. Chances are one thing, but Game , you’ve got to score.”
Canadiens goalie Carey Price was the “biggest difference” Saturday, Horachek said. While the Panthers dominated most of the second period, he made a number of impressive stops, including a glove save on a shot from Tomas Fleischmann.
“It’s going to get frustrating if you put the effort out there and you don’t win. So guys are going to have to be mentally tough,” said Horachek, who cancelled Sunday’s scheduled practice. “It gets harder sometimes before it gets easier. You’re going to have to bear down. And hopefully the effort is there every game. If the effort is not there, then it’s a big problem.”
Newly recalled goalie Scott Clemmensen likely will start one of the two road games during this stretch of three contests in four days. If he does fill in for Dan Ellis, it very well could be Monday against the Devils, for whom he played six seasons. Clemmensen, who’s 6-6-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .896 save percentage in 16 appearances with the Panthers this season, last played March 1 when he stopped 31 of 35 shots in a loss at Columbus.
The Panthers killed all five of the Canadiens’ power plays Saturday. It marked the second consecutive game that they didn’t allow a power-play goal after surrendering one in each of the previous 10 games.
The Panthers’ own power play is struggling again, however. They were 0-for-4 with a man-advantage against the Canadiens and 0-for-17 the past seven games combined.
“We’re not committed to spending the time in front of the net,” Horachek said. “[Jimmy] Hayes has done a little bit of that with the one group, but we don’t have it with the other group.”
Rocco rolls on
Panthers prospect Rocco Grimaldi was named Midwest Regional MVP after leading North Dakota to the NCAA men’s hockey Frozen Four.
Grimaldi, a second-round pick (33rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, had a hat trick in UND’s 5-2 regional semifinal win against Wisconsin and a team-high tying four shots in Saturday’s 2-1 double-overtime triumph against Ferris State. He leads UND with 39 points (17 goals) in 41 games.
Another Panthers’ prospect, Boston College defenseman Ian McCoshen, played Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
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