Panther GM and coach Jacques Martin made it clear during Monday’s practice at IncredibleIce what he wants from his players.
Within 15 minutes of the start of practice, Martin screamed, “Anticipate…We need more pressure on the opposition…Don’t quit on the play.”
After a day off Sunday, Martin worked the Panthers hard Monday morning in the wake up Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 loss to the Capitals here at BankAtlantic Center.
While the team met after practice for a film session on positive thinking, Martin reiterated what he preached during practice.
“We have to get more involved,” Martin said. “Goals are the result of being in traffic, being in front of the net, getting loose pucks, jumping on loose pucks, having more intensity. I think that’s what we need from everybody.
“I look back at the two weeks we won four in a row and we did a lot of better things than we did in the last game. We have to get back to doing that. We’re playing a team Wednesday (in Ottawa) that is going to be hungry, a team that’s very skilled, and if you don’t battle you’re going to be embarrassed.”
Martin was asked if he was still frustrated over Saturday’s lackluster performance from his team.
“Yeah, I am,” he said. “That was a good opportunity for us to make up some ground. I can accept losses when there’s an effort. But the effort wasn’t there. That’s why we’ve got to do better. That’s why if we don’t win, we’ll have practices like today.”
The Panthers could use an infusion of scoring from two sources they badly need – Nathan Horton and Jozef Stumpel. Horton, who scored a career-high 31 goals last season, has only two goals in his last 15 games while Stumpel, who had a career-high 23 goals last season, has one goal in his last 15 games.
Horton and Stumpel are both looking to change their luck.
“Obviously, I need to do a little more and get more shots,” said Horton, who has three shots in the past three games. “I have to try and get the puck. That’s a big thing. If I can’t get the puck, I can’t score and make plays. Maybe I’ve got to work a little harder. Obviously, I’m going to try and do that, too. I have to do something.”
Stumpel said he’s trying to concentrate more in practice and, during games, get the puck deep. “It’s a mental thing,” he said. “You have to believe. You have to know when to get the puck on net. I’m trying to focus on the next game and make sure I get the puck enough.”
“When you get your confidence back it gets easier and easier,” added Stumpel, who’s hit several posts the past two weeks. “When you get it in, obviously, things will turn around and you’ll score a little more often.”
The Panthers need to correct their problems quick with the Senators coming to town. The Eastern Conference leaders have lost six consecutive games and will be looking to stop their losing streak at the expense of the Panthers.
“I really felt we were going in the right direction,” Martin said. “We felt good, there was a good buzz around the team. We were making progress. Then we went into the ditch. Now we have to pick ourselves up from the ditch, get back on the road, and play hard and win some games.”
practiced with the team Monday after missing Saturday’s game and is expected to play Wednesday…Anthony Stewart, who played Saturday, was sent back Sunday to the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Rochester…