Panthers Come Back??? What???

Words cannot describe the above.  On with the recap.

Ok so, we lost a three goal lead the night before and then are somehow able to “come back” after trailing after two periods the next night and come out with a win?  Huh?  Yes, the Florida Panthers ability to continue to frustrate themselves, their fans, and the rest of the hockey world, proved once again that nothing is for sure.

After taking the lead in the first period against the Lightning with Nathan Horton getting his 16th goal of the season, it was entirely possible that you would have thought that Florida had learned a lesson from the night before.  Alas, you’d be wrong.  At least for the next 40 minutes or so as the Panthers squandered the lead to Tampa and played some very sloppy, timid, and poor hockey.  This against a Lightning team that doesn’t really look much better than we do which is a surprise, given all the offensive power that they have.

Jeff Halperin tied the game at one and then Steve Downie, who is trying to become more of a hockey player than a thug, scored to give Tampa the lead. It then  appeared that Florida wouldn’t bounce back.  Especially with the previous night’s game still fresh in their minds.  However with about twelve minutes remaining in the game, Rhino and Cory Stillman displayed a brilliant exposed the Lightning defence on a two on one and Rhino faked the shot, and Stillman one-timed it past Antero Nittymaki to tie the game.  For once, when Florida didn’t shoot, it payed off.  Roughly four minutes later Rusty Olesz got the “rust” off his wrist shot, and fired one past Nittymaki for what proved to be the game winner.  Rusty is hot now, so maybe it’s a good time to trade him and his silly contract.  I’m just sayin.

Of course there was some drama that Florida had to overcome as the ever elusive Martin St. Louis was on a breakaway of sorts and defenceman Bryan McCabe did the only thing he could do.  Trip him to prevent a potential goal being scored.  While it was a bit of an iffy call, it had to be made and St. Louis was awarded a penalty shot.  Tomas Vokoun however was up to the challenge and made a brilliant glove save on St. Louis and the game was ultimately won.  I was a bit surprised as Vokoun got the start since it has been DeBoer’s practice to give Scott Clemmensen the start in the back to back game.  Maybe he’s lost confidence in Scotty, or maybe he’s just saying that Vokoun is the number one, and that’s the end of the story.

In between all this, Stevie Wonder had a little “tussle” with Steve Downie as they each appeared to engage in some rough stuff, or a bad wrestling match.  Either way, both were assesed double minors for roughing for their girlish behavior.

So the Panthers improved their record after two periods when trailing to a robust 2-13-2!  Not a record to be proud of, but a win is a win.  Although I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed by this victory as it’s a win that we should have had, yet made it difficult on ourselves anyway.

Keaton Ellerby made his NHL debut and played just under five minutes and was a minus one.  Pretty uneventful and for the most part.  I don’t remember too much about his ice time either.  Big Mac was recalled to take the spot of Nasty Nick who is out with an injury.  He played 1:58!  Again I ask, why bother?  It has become extremely evident that DeBoer doesn’t care for the enforcer type, and if that’s the case, bring up Mike Duco, whom he seems to have some more confidence in.

Is it me or is Jason Garrison starting to appear a bit more comfortable the more he plays?  Not sure, but pairing him with McCabe or Seidenberg seems to be a good idea.  Speaking of Seidenberg, he played 27 minutes last night!  Defenceman Bryan Allen was held back in Forida and given the night off to rest his knee.  Oh and the Gregory Campbell scoring streak is over at one!

Next up, the same two teams Saturday night at the Bank.

Thanks for reading.


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Tags: Cory Stillman Florida Panthers Jeff Halperin Nathan Horton Rostislav Olesz Stephen Weiss Steve Downie Tampa Bay Lightnig

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