SUNRISE, Fla. -- After a morning skate last Saturday, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen was asked if he could learn anything from an early-season 7-0 pounding administered by the St. Louis Blues.
"Some times you're the ball, some times you're the bat," Dineen sad. "We got spanked pretty good, but if you look at the game for the first 35 minutes we played a solid game. ... Give the Blues credit, when they smell blood they keep coming."
About nine hours later, the Blues swung their lumber far more effectively than their Cardinals brethren did in the recent World Series, as they battered the reeling Panthers, 4-0, on Friday night at a quiet BB&T Center.
The loss was the Panthers' fifth on this season-long, disappointing 1-3-2 homestand in which they managed just 10 goals. The 3-8-2 Panthers now play nine of their next 11 on the road, including the Capitals Saturday night in the Verizon Center where they've lost seven straight.
The announced 12,922 jeering fans were getting restless. But so must be new owner Vinnie Viola, who may also be smelling blood as in personnel moves on and off the ice.
For the fourth time in the first 13 games the Panthers couldn't solve their opponent's backup goalie as they were unable to slip the puck past Brian Elliott, who had 31 saves for his 22nd career shutout.
At first it seemed that Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was doing his beleaguered counterpart a favor by not starting Panthers' killer goalie Jaroslav Halak, who's 7-1-1 this season and 8-1 versus the Panthers.
Dineen stressed the need to get off to a good start during this week's four-day break between games, but to no avail. After the Panthers threatened on the game's first power play (0-for-2), the 8-1-2 Blues took the lead for good at 15:41 of the first period.
Blues winger Chris Stewart was crunched against the boards but managed to poke it to Derek Roy, who backhanded it off the post and behind Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom is 1-5-2 after allowing four goals on 23 shots.
The Panthers have lost nine-of-10 (1-7-2) when the opposition scores first.
The Blues have now killed off 30 straight penalties against the Panthers, whose impotent power play has one goal in its last 18 tries over eight games.
The Blues erupted for three goals in a 5:21 span of the second period. From a bizarre angle, Stewart somehow got it through the 6-foot-6 Swede. Then the Blues' top-ranked power play clicked as Alex Pietrangelo outfought defenseman Erik Gudbranson in front at 7:06.
Finally, at 10:42, Alexander Steen continued his torrid pace with a point-blank snapper from outside the crease for his league-leading 12th goal in his 11th game.
Thomas not traveling
Dineen inadvertently cracked a joke Saturday morning when he said that injured goalie Tim Thomas (leg) wouldn't be traveling to the nation's capital.
Thomas sat out last season because of burnout, but also because of the controversy he stirred up when he turned down President Obama's invitation to celebrate the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup championship at the White House because of political differences in January 2012.
"Tim won't be coming to Washington," Dineen said. "I don't say that facetiously. We're going to make sure when he comes back, he's 100 percent healthy."
Thomas will travel on next week's road trip which means he might come back again against his former team in Boston on Thursday.
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