It’s been a while since anyone muttered the words Craig Anderson here in Florida. Rightfully so, as Tomas Vokoun again showed that he is capable of carrying the torch as the number one goalie for this team. Getting shutout number five of the season and stopping 27 shots after stopping 47 two nights before, Vokoun has been playing some of his best hockey lately. In the last three games that Florida has played Vokoun has made 101 saves, and all three games were victories. Ok, they beat Tampa twice and Atlanta, but as defensively challenged as those two teams are, you can’t argue that they each have potent offenses!
The Panthers now have their fourth 3 game winning streak of the season as they head on the road to New Jersey for a tilt on Wednesday night against the Devils. The last time Florida played New Jersey the Panthers came out on top and prevented Martin Brodeur from setting the shutout record for NHL goalies. Not sure that the result will be the same, but that’s why they play ‘em.
It was a battle of the goalies for about the first 30 minutes or so as Johan Hedberg of Atlanta seemed to be up to the task as well. Hedberg made 23 saves, as the only goal scored in the game was on a Gregory Campbell backhander that found it’s way through a maze of players as well as Hedberg’s legs. It appeared that Hedberg was screened on the play and that was the reason he was unable to make the stop. A break that the Panthers don’t often get, but will gladly take.
The last 90 seconds were as chaotic as you would expect it to be for these two teams. Each of the three previous games had a goal scored within the last couple minutes changing the result. Tell me that you weren’t just a bit nervous and your but cheeks were a bit tight in the closing seconds.
As mentioned Gregory Campbell scores the game winner with his second goal of the year. Cory Stillman led all forwards with four shots on goal and Dennis Seidenberg led all Panther players with 25 minutes of ice time. In addition, defenceman Jason Garrison picked up his first NHL point with one of the assists on Campbell’s goal.
The Thrashers had their chances including a 6 on 4 advantage with 1:19 to play as they pulled Hedberg, as Panther defenceman Dennis Seidenberg was in the box for tripping. However Vokoun was up to the challenge, and Campbell made a solid defensive play with a key clear of the puck as time was winding down. A real lunch pail game for Campbell as he did what he’s supposed to do and tossed in a goal for his efforts.
My Molson Canadian “Player of The Game”: Tomas Vokoun!
As for Campbell, I would give him the second star of the game and a new one of these:
Missing in action for Florida was Stevie Wonder as he was out with a yeast infection lower body injury. He is day to day at this point, but the Panthers are hopeful he’s ready for the Jersey game Wednesday night.
My apologies for not having the usual highlights etc. I’m having some real internet and computer issues and it took a heck of alot longer than normal to even post this. I appreciate your understanding.
Thanks for reading.