Tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Florida Panthers here in Sunrise, Florida in a rematch of Thursday night’s game which the Panthers ended up winning on a goal by Rostislav Olesz for a final score of 3-2. If you’re looking for a prime hockey matchup to watch on Saturday night I would suggest New Jersey at Colorado, or for a Canadian flair, Ottawa is at Montreal. This game between two state rivals will be a game of mistakes and blunders as they will pick up where they left off the other night.
As of this typing the Panthers who think they are still in some sort of playoff race remain 4 points out of the eighth spot behind, who else, Montreal, are tied with Tampa with 46 points. Once again a must win if they intend on kidding themselves to stay in the race. Face it folks alot has to happen, most of it bad to the teams that are ahead of the Panthers for anything good to happen to them. But I will hold out some optimism. Some, but not much as I give this team about two more weeks to determine their fate. Winning again tonight would be a positive step.
I would expect to see Tomas Vokoun between the pipes again tonight as he deserves the start and is our number one goalie. Nothing against Scott Clemmensen, but he’s not exactly exuding confidence lately. Keaton Ellerby was returned to Rochester on Friday, so expect Bryan Allen to be back in the lineup.
Two teams that are fighting for their playoff lives, you’d like to think that one of them would be able to emerge out of this game as the front runner of the state. Don’t hold your breathe, as Tampa has just as many issues as we do and is destined for the golf course in mid April just as we are. Although if we had a few of their top six, in place of a few of our top six, things might look a bit different. In any event, that’s not the case and this slopfest contest won’t settle much other than proving that inconsistency is the norm for both teams.
Good luck Panthers. Keep yourselves out of the penalty box, shoot the puck every chance you get, and please make sure that Stevie Wonder doesn’t fight!
Thanks for reading. Enjoy all the games today and tonight.