Gerard Gallant didn’t mince words when talking about the Panthers’ performance this past weekend.
“We took it on the chin,” he said, adding “no one was any good.”
Later, Gallant said “our team was pathetic the last couple of games.”
The Panthers sure didn’t look like one of the top teams in hockey as they reverted to their old-school, last-place roots.
Florida looked slow and uninterested in the first period of both a 5-3 loss to St. Louis on Friday, when it surrendered three goals and again in Saturday’s 5-0 debacle against Nashville in which the Predators took a 2-0 lead into the first break.
“We were sound asleep,” Gallant said.
On Friday, Gallant pulled goalie Roberto Luongo after a first period, which Florida trailed 3-1, and it appeared to work.
After Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period, Florida trailed by a goal at 4-3 before eventually losing.
Gallant wouldn’t put the blame on Luongo, saying his entire team is struggling right now.
“He hasn’t been as sharp as he was,” Gallant said, “but it has been our team the last couple of games.”
On Saturday, nothing would have worked as the Panthers didn’t offer up much against a desperate and angry Nashville team, which saw victory snatched away in the final seconds the previous night in Tampa.
“We wanted to end the road trip the right way,” said Calle Jarnkrok, who scored twice in the win.
Gallant didn’t stick around to see the end of Saturday’s game as he was ejected after getting a game misconduct for arguing with the officials.
Upset after seeing two of his players taken out — without a single on-ice penalty called — Gallant had seen enough.
We took it on the chin. No one was any good.
Florida Panthers coach
Florida will host Pittsburgh on Monday night, and will do so with a patchwork lineup.
Gallant switched up his lines before Saturday’s game but will have to do more juggling Monday.
Brandon Pirri, promoted to center the top line during the third period Friday, is likely out for the time being after injuring his left ankle when he awkwardly went into the boards after a shove from Nashville’s Ryan Ellis.
Quinton Howden will also likely be out after he took a shoulder hit to the head from Anthony Bitetto.
“I’m sure something will happen after that hit,” Gallant said. “They’re trying to clean up head shots; if that’s not a head shot, I don’t know what is.”
It’s also likely Florida will continue to be without center Sasha Barkov and defenseman Erik Gudbranson at least until Thursday’s game against San Jose.
Injuries are definitely taking their toll on the Panthers, who have now lost two consecutive games and four of their past five.
“We are tested now for sure,” Jussi Jokinen said. “It’s probably the toughest time of the year for us, we’re missing some key guys.”
The Panthers’ eight-point lead atop the Atlantic Division is now down to three as Detroit has charged into second place.
As for giving his team a stern talking to, Gallant said he doesn’t find it necessary.
“I tell them nothing. They know; they know,” Gallant said, eyes staring forward.
“It’s a tough spot and men get through it and you battle back. It’s two losses in a row that we were no good at, and we’re going to play a real good team with Pittsburgh, so we’ll see what they’re made of.
“You go through a tough time, you go through some tough injuries but, hey, there’s no excuses. You’ve got to play the games and work hard with the guys we got, go play hard and win some hockey games.”
▪ John McFarland made his NHL debut on Saturday night saying “it’s a dream come true to put on this jersey,” during the first intermission.
▪ With two more players hurt Saturday, forward Greg McKegg was called up from Portland with Barkov placed on injured reserve. Barkov is eligible to return Thursday.
Monday: Penguins at Panthers
When/where: 7:30 p.m.; BB&T Center.
TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM 560, WMEN 640, WNMA 1210.
Series: Pittsburgh leads 45-35-4
Scouting report: The Penguins have won five of the past seven and have been enjoying South Florida since arriving after Friday’s win at Carolina. Pittsburgh is 2-0 against Florida this season, with both wins coming on power-play goals in overtime.