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Countdown 5: Decreasing The Shots Allowed?

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
The Panthers 2010-11 season is quickly approaching and with that, is taking a look at the top ten questions, players to watch and games of the season on a countdown to the home opener on October 16th against Tampa Bay. We'll unveil one of the top ten on a rotating basis each day to help fans get ready for what hopes to be an exciting season.

In today's topic, we take a closer look at Reducing The Shots Against in our Top 10 Questions this season.

It's a mark that no one wants to have. For the Panthers, unfortunately, they've held it four times since the turn of the century, including the last two seasons. That would be the team that allows the most shots on their goaltenders.

Florida allowed 34.1 shots last season and 34.7 the season before. In 2007-08 they were just one spot better when they allowed 33.6 shots on goal a game. Going deeper in fact, the team has been higher than 28th, 29th or 30th in the league just once since the 2000-01 season when they allowed 29.3 shots a game during the 2006-07 season (15th).

What makes last year's stat even more mind-boggling when you think about it is that Florida led the league in blocked shots with 1403 (17.1 a game). If you think about it, that adds up to 51.2 shots that a Panthers goalie could have seen (not including the shots not hitting the net or a defender).

While head coach Peter DeBoer doesn't like to put a lot of stock in the shot statistic, one has to wonder how many more games the Panthers would have won in the last couple of years with even just one or two shots less a game. One less breakaway. One less rebound allowed. One more blocked shot. That could be all the difference in being out of the playoffs and in the playoffs.

Just take last year as an example. Whether the reason is because they were an offensive juggernaut like Washington or a defensive force like Nashville, eight of the top 10 teams (in allowing the least amount of shots a game) made the playoffs.

For the Panthers to be successful this year, they'll have to reduce the shots that Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen see. Less shots keeps the goalies fresher in the closing minutes (you would hope) and allow them to stay on top of their game as the Panthers try to hold off their opponents for the victory or make a push to tie the game.

Keep an eye on the amount of rubber that gets thrown at the Panthers net this season.

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