Sunday, January 27, 2013
By Luke Lapinski
The Florida Panthers are off to a rough start following last season's Southeast Division title. Kevin Dineen's squad has lost four straight in convincing fashion, getting outscored 18-3 in that stretch.
Goaltending and defense have certainly been shaky to start the year, but the lack of offense is troubling for a team that, for all it's success last season, has a history of struggling in that department. The Panthers managed just 2.40 goals per game in 2011-12, good for No. 27 in the NHL. This time around, they're managing just 1.60 per contest.
Help could be on the way soon though. Kris Versteeg was third on the team with 54 points in 71 games last season, but has yet to play at all in 2012-13. He's been sidelined with a lower-body ailment that is believed to be a groin injury, rather than anything related to the hip issue he was dealing with last season. There was talk he might return as soon as yesterday, though that didn't happen. He did work out on Saturday though, then went through an extended practice after the club's morning skate. It doesn't sound like he's far off at all, and Florida's next game isn't until Tuesday against Tampa Bay.