In their last contest, the Florida Panthers lost a close game to the Detroit Red Wings.
The final score was 3-2. The loss left the Panthers' fans and players frustrated, but may have left some a bit optimistic.
In the Panthers' last three games, they have shown that they are taking steps in the right direction. A 3-1 victory over the surging Anaheim Ducks and a dominant 4-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning have provided a spark in an otherwise dim beginning to the season.
It seems more and more Panthers' forwards are stepping up, and adding productivity to the offense. Forwards Stephen Weiss, Ville Peltonen, Gregory Campbell and Richard Zednik are beginning to come out of their struggles, and are adding more scoring chances to a presently sputtering offense.
Another forward that is showing promise is youngster Michael Frolik. In the 3-2 loss to Detroit, Frolik showed poise and confidence on the ice, and created numerous scoring chances for Florida.
Finishing still is a huge problem for this team. Players like Nathan Horton and Rostislav Olesz have to be more aggressive offensively. During the Detroit game, I saw many occasions when Horton passed up point-blank shots, and dished the puck to other players shooting from tougher angles.
Olesz, once again, was non-existent in this game. He truly needs to step up and show his physical, gritty side in order for the Panthers to be successful. He has failed to break out, and it seems he may just be another draft bust.
The Panthers will look to string some wins together, as they play their next game against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.
There is still plenty of time for the Panthers to turn it around and make the playoffs, but they are losing precious points, and will need to win consistently to stay in the playoff hunt.