Beginning this evening against Carolina, the Panthers start a three game homestretch at BankAtlantic Center in five days. And according to coach Peter DeBoer, it’s the team’s chance for a “season-changing week.”
“We talked (Sunday) in our meeting,” DeBoer said. “This is a week we see as an opportunity to turn our season around.”
It certainly can’t come soon enough. The Panthers have won only three of their last 12 games and timing is becoming imperative if the 2008-09 Panthers want to begin their climb from the NHL cellar.
“We don’t have the luxury of dropping points,” said DeBoer after Monday’s morning skate at BankAtlantic Center. “We have to find a way to string together some victories here and, hopefully, it starts tonight.”
The Panthers (7-11-1) will have to do it against the Hurricanes (11-8-2) without defenseman Nick Boynton, who will likely be out through Wednesday with a concussion. Cory Stillman will also be out with symptoms from a concussion.
DeBoer has shown his displeasure with some of his player’s performances by making some healthy scratches (Rostislav Olesz, Boynton) and putting Wade Belak on waivers. Belak cleared waivers at noon Monday.
Olesz, who has one goal the past 11 games and was a healthy scratch in Boston, said he has to show he should be in the lineup every night.
“Like everybody, you want to show after being a scratch you should be in the lineup,” said Olesz, who will begin the night on a line with Radek Dvorak and Kamil Kreps. “I have to do it every night. I have to show I can do it every night.”
DeBoer hasn’t ruled out the past two days making additional changes if the team doesn’t turn direction.
“We’re in last place,” he said. “If there’s isn’t changes, you would think there’s a problem. Guys have to expect that. They’re getting paid to play a game and they’re getting paid for results, as we are. When those results aren’t there, there’s going to be consequences and there’s going to be changes.