Kevin Dineen said there were “plenty of negatives you can keep pointing at” before Monday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The list of negatives just continues to grow — as does the Panthers’ losing streak.
Florida went winless on a four-game homestand that concluded with a 3-0 loss to a Maple Leafs team that felt right at home inside the BB&T Center. The Panthers haven’t won in five consecutive games and went 0-1-3 at home during that stretch.
The Panthers play the next two on the road: Thursday at Philadelphia (site of Florida’s most recent victory on Feb. 7) and Friday in Pittsburgh.
“It’s frustrating times, and we have to find ways to be more consistent,” defenseman Brian Campbell said. “It stings a lot. We wanted to come into [the homestand] and make it to .500, and we’re not there. We have a lot of work to do going on the road. To have a fairly good road trip, then come home for this, it hurts.”
The Panthers failed to pick up a point for the first time since a 5-0 pasting at Washington to start this slide on Feb. 9.
During the five-game winless streak the Panthers:
Tied an NHL record for losing three consecutive games in overtime, becoming only the second (Nashville) to do it all on home ice;
Florida is a broken bunch right now.
“We better figure it out, and there’s a confidence factor right now,” said Dineen, whose team had won five in a row against Toronto. “I played that record last game. There’s lots of things we need to work on.”
The Panthers didn’t do much to slow down a Toronto team that is on a hot streak good enough to pull back attention from the “Miami” Blue Jays.
The Leafs, who have won six of seven, got another strong outing from backup Ben Schrivens as he has shutouts in his past two starts and hasn’t given up a goal in his past 142:21.
Florida’s Jose Theodore once again found his goals-against average going up and his save percentage going down as his defense has been anything but stout.
Toronto scored its initial goal when Phil Kessel walked in by himself off a give-and-go from Mike Van Riemsdyk and scored short-side from the left circle with 2:56 left in the first period.
Although Theodore should have made that save, the Leafs were off to the races.
“Give him credit, he’s standing on his head,” said Peter Mueller of Theodore, who made 30 saves for the second game in a row.
The Leafs got two more in the second to cement this win as Nazem Kadri camped out in front of the net during a power play and rifled a shot past Theodore at 12:13.
Just over a minute later, Clarke MacArthur got loose as Kadri pulled in three Florida defenders before slipping the puck across the ice. MacArthur charged in on Theodore unopposed to make it 3-0.
The Panthers, who went the final 9:55 of the second without offering up a single shot on goal, took 12 shots in the third yet rarely threatened the Leafs’ goalie.
General manager Dale Tallon said the Panthers had a few banged-up players who were questionable for Monday’s game, so center Mike Santorelli was recalled as a precaution.
Santorelli, 27, has two goals and three assists for Florida’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio since being demoted last month. Santorelli was not needed and although he warmed up, did not play.
“I think his attitude has been great and he’s playing very well,” Tallon said.
Tallon said Versteeg’s injury wasn’t concussion-related and he’s simply day-to-day.
Scottie Upshall skated before Monday’s workout, but Dineen said he was “still a ways away.” Upshall injured an ankle after falling awkwardly during a fight Jan. 31 against Winnipeg.