PANTHERS 8, MAPLE LEAFS 4. WHAT THE LEAFS SAID: “It was big game for us. They’re the team behind us in the division and they gained — it’s a four-point game and we didn’t show up. It’s a big learning experience for us moving forward. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for the next one.” — ZACH HYMAN.


On what the team takes away from tonight’s game:

Yeah, it’s just you take it as what it is, which is a good slap in the face and a good reminder of how we can’t play if we have any intention at all of being a successful team. A big step backwards for us here today, defensively. I thought coming out of that Winnipeg game, while we were pretty poor offensively, I thought we did a really good job defensively against their best players, especially. We knew that was going to be the key again here today. Clearly, we just weren’t even close.

On the team allowing odd-man rushes:

I don’t think it’s been an issue. Like I said, we just finished playing a Winnipeg team that is very dynamic offensively just like these guys and we gave them nothing. So, we were hoping to build upon that, but today was a problem for us. A lot of it is rigidity in the offensive zone. The first one here we get a bad bounce and we had numbers above the puck, we were in a pretty good spot, [Kerfoot] was tracking it. It takes a kind of funny bounce on him and then we lose positioning there. Then, the others, just kind of soft turnover, soft play on the puck on one. It’s a combination of different things but I don’t think it’s necessarily been a big issue for us as a team other than today.


On disappointment in tonight’s performance:

Yeah, I mean, I don’t think I had my best game either. I think I want to be able to make saves in big moments early on and I wasn’t good enough today either. So I think once they got the lead, we started maybe playing into their hand a little bit and maybe forced some pucks when we really didn’t need to and the game got out of hand. I think you see when we play well, I think we play with the puck a lot. So sometimes when we turn it over in the wrong places sometimes there’ll be a little bit too much room for the other teams when their skilled players come out. So this will be a good lesson for us to keep going and try to fix these things.

On if a lack of puck support led to chances for Florida tonight:

Yeah, I think a little bit. We need to be connected through all three layers of goalie, [defence] and forwards. I think that support is so huge for us to just sustain pressure and to open up the ice for them too much.


On moving past tonight’s game:

I think that you have to take away from — it’s a big learning experience, right? This is a big game for us, it was big game for us. They’re the team behind us in the division and they gained — it’s a four-point game and we didn’t show up. It’s a big learning experience for us moving forward. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for the next one.

On what the lessons are for the team from tonight’s performance:

Well, we can’t turn the puck over like we did, especially against a team that’s got the offensive guys like they do and their ability to transition. So, that’s first and foremost, right? Then just showing up. I don’t think that we gave Freddie a chance and I don’t think we gave Hutch a chance. There were way too many grade-A opportunities that went the wrong way.


On his first game back since injury:

It’s nice to feel I got the tempo to hang in the game, able to skate and do some moves out there. So, for me it felt good in that way, but to come into this game and have that start is always tough.


On how the game got away from them early on:

Forcing stuff in the middle but, at the same time, no F3, we’ve got guys diving in, we’ve got people leaving our goalies out to dry. It’s been too many games now. It’s unfair to a guy that’s been with us for the last four years. He’s been our backbone for the whole time. We’ve got to make sure we manage the puck better but, at the same time, we’ve got to manage that we’ve got a guy high and filing our spots when the [defence] are pinching.

On if there is a common theme in the six straight losses at BB&T Center:

No idea. I mean, tonight, like I just said, we were giving up too many chances, odd man chances. They’ve got a lot of guys and seemed like every guy that had a 2-on-1 had a gun of a shot or a hell of a vision to make a play. So, like I said, we’re leaving our goalie out to dry on multiple goals tonight and it’s so unfair to them and we’ve got to be way better.


On if this is one game of 82 that they can flush and move on:

I don’t think so. I mean, that was pretty disappointing considering what was at stake today. It’s just simply not good enough. We’ve got to be a lot more consistent and having these games and giving up the chances that we’re giving up is just not going to get us to where we want to get to.

On how the team can bounce back next game against New Jersey:

You’ve got to take care of the puck. As much as we’re going to have it a lot and we’re going to be dynamic, we’ve got to realize especially against a team like this that has some players that can really hurt you and are really talented, just giving up odd man rushes is not a recipe for success.

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