There was alot of celebrating last night as six different players scored goals for the Panthers as things finally were spread around. Even the defence got into the scoring mix as Florida beat Carolina 6-3 on home ice getting over the .500 mark for the season. The first period ended scoreless, but it was in the second frame when things got exciting.
Patrick Dwyer scored his first goal of the year (doesn’t everyone) to give Carolina a 1-0 lead which didn’t last but a minute as Panther defenceman Jordan Leopold tied the game off a nice feed from Rostislaz Olesz. Bryan McCabe and Keith Ballard also scored for the Cats, giving three defencemen the scoring honors in one period. Something that will be needed more of as the Panthers continue their playoff chase.
With a little more than ten minutes to go in the third the Panthers had appeared to step on the gas and seemingly put the game out of reach as Rusty, Radek Dvorak each scored even strength goals and Dinty added a shorty while chasing Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward along the way to a 6-1 lead.
Those of you that follow the Panthers know the drill here. In the third period the Panthers lead the league in goals allowed, thus creating many of those losses previously in the season. While they decided to add to their goals against total, they managed to hang on even though Carolina got goals from Scott Walker and Eric Staal. I’m sure the butt cheeks tightened a bit as there was a little over nine minutes of time remaining in the game, but the Panthers were able to hang on and maintain the lead for their 15th victory of the season.
Rusty and Dvorak had solid games with each getting three points a piece and Dvorak was a +5, and Dinty added two points as he seems to be playing a bit better since that cage has come off. Tomas Vokoun while not great, didn’t have to be, stopped 32 of 35 shots, especially when it mattered, got the win.
Rookie defenceman Dmitry Kulikov left the game in the second period in what appears to be a lower body injury. As I write this I’m not able to tell you if he’ll play tonight and if not, Jason Garrison will take his spot after playing for Bryan Allen last night, as Allen was given the night off to rest his surgically repaired knee.
Tonight, same thing as these teams take their battle to Carolina. Rinse, wash, repeat. Except no drama in the third period please. Friday night’s game was a fun one for Florida. Everyone got into the act with ten players getting points, and the scoring coming from all over. Two points that were much needed. Now tonight two more points that are on the line. No ties, shootouts.
Get this done in regulation!
My Molson Canadian Player of the Game: Radek Dvorak. 3 points, 3 shots on goal and a +5.
Enjoy the weekend, enjoy tonights game, and get your christmas shopping done!
Thanks for reading.