Source: Miami Herald

Panthers Take Foot Off Gas, Lose In Shootout

It wasn’t the bad bounce.   So stop saying that it was.

Captain Bryan McCabe explained the reason for the Panthers losing to Phoenix in his post game interview.  “We took our foot off the gas pedal a bit”.  He’s right.  We’ve seen it before and until the culture and roster is changed, we’ll see it again.  Don’t you DARE blame the bad bounce goal scored by Radim Vrbata with 59 seconds left in regulation as the reason that this team lost.  Sure it didn’t help and was extremely unfortunate, but alot of other things had happened before then which led to the loss.

Also, one quick rant.  I was not at the game, but watched the second and third periods.

SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO GAVE VOKOUN THE “BRONX CHEER” when he made a couple saves in the third period after the game was tied.  If that was YOU, then you should be ashamed of yourselves.  Vokoun has stood on his head for most of the season, and doesn’t deserve that treatment.  I personally feel that was an embarrasment to him and to the fans of the Panthers.  You obviously haven’t been watching Panther hockey this year and seem to forget that if not for Vokoun, we would be 30th in the entire NHL.  It was a bush league thing to do!

As for the game itself,  the Phoenix Coyotes were shooting for their seventh win in a row and trying to set a franchise record for most wins in a season, but those chances looked pretty dim until the third period.  Little Stevie had a power play goal in the first period giving Florida a 1-0 lead with just 6.7 seconds left as he sent a slap shot past Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.  Then just past the one minute mark of the second, David Booth of the Panthers made it 2-0 as he deflected a Bryan McCabe slapshot.  Cory Stillman got the third goal for Florida with help from Nathan Horton who was appearing in his frist game since his broken leg.  Horton assisted on both of the second period goals, and looked healthy, had lots of energy and created some good chances.

With a 3-0 lead heading into the third, Martin Hanzal and newly acquired Lee Stempniak scored 43 seconds apart and the Coyotes were making this a real hockey game.  As a team that was trailing going into the third, Phoenix started to take some chances and open things up a bit.  In the same breathe the Panthers still haven’t learned how to step on the throat of the opponent and shut the door.  They played defensviely and as though Uncle Jack was behind the bench.

The game was tied as Radim Vrbata shot the puck from just across the center line and it took a couple bounces, but the last bounce came just before Vokoun was ready to glove the puck and went into the net.  59 seconds remained.  I felt bad for Tomas.  A dumb goal like that happens every once in awhile, but he didn’t deserve that.  Maybe he should have played the puck alittle more aggressively instead of deep in his crease, but so be it.  The game was then sent to overtime with no scoring thus forcing a shootout.

Nathan Horton and Lauri Korpikoski each scored in the shootout, but it was Radim Vrbata who got the winner giving Phoenix their record setting victory.

Here’s a couple post game comments from the coaches.  First Florida’s Pete DeBoer:  “For us it seems, Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong is going wrong”.  Spoken by the leader of this team!  Attitude folks.  Mental toughness everyone!  If you keep telling yourself this, guess what?  You will believe it.

Here’s a different viewpoint: Coach Dave Tippett of the Coyotes said: “We kept pushing and took some chances and they didn’t take any chances.  We were lucky to get some bounces”.  How true!

Rostislav Olesz continued his scoreless streak which is now at 19 games!

Next up a Saturday night matchup with former assistant coach Lindy Ruff bringing his Buffalo Sabres to town as the Panthers open up their “Den of Honor”.  Honoring former players and coaches to create a little history and allowing fans to relive the glory days highlights of when things were better. 

It’s always easier to live in the past especially when the future is so uncertain!

Thanks for reading.

Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Cheers

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Tags: Florida Panthers Lee Stempniak Phoenix Coyotes Radim Vrbata

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