Minor injuries haven’t set back Ottawa from compiling a three game winning streak, after beating the Buffalo Sabres last night by a score of 4-2. It was also the ninth straight time that Ottawa has beaten the Sabres.
Injuries for the Panthers however have affected their ability to play consistently all year. While I’m not making excuses for them, we have all heard about the what if situations. What if David Booth didn’t miss 45 games? What if Nathan Horton didn’t miss 17 games? What if Cory Stillman didn’t miss 20 games?
What if we had a scouting department that drafted better giving us some depth players?
What if we just scored more goals then the other team more often then they did?
You get the picture.
As we talk of injuries, Panther forward David Booth is out with another concussion after a hit on Thursday night from Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jaroslav Spacek. Legal hit all the way. Booth unfortunately had his head down and wasn’t quite aware of his surroundings. Before the hit as well as after. This is Booth’s second concussion withing five months and that is not a good sign for anyone. While this one isn’t as bad as the first, when you have multiple one’s your resistence continues to get weaker. Booth is most likely done for the year, and even if he gets clearance to play, which I’d find it hard to believe he would get, I would prefer to see him sit the balance of the year out. Florida is not playoff bound.
When the annouoncement of Booth being released from hospital yesterday and then sent home, the Panthers announced that tough guy Steve MacIntyre was being called up to take his place. This sent Panther fans in a tizzy, myself inlcuded, as we all wondered why on earth would you replace a goal scoring winger with a muscle man with rocks for hands on a team that already struggles for goals? Well, after everyone ranted on various blogs and message boards, it turns out that Mac was recalled instead of one of the other youngsters or players because the Panther farm team, The Rochester Americans is in the playoff race. They didn’t want to disrupt the roster, therfore, Mac gets the call. While it makes sense in away, I’m not so sure that I agree with it. Bottom line is that with this move we have now certified that the tee time reservations will begin in early April.
The Panthers are 12th in the East and seven poin ts behind Boston with little chance of catching up to them. Little Stevie leads in goals with 25 and points with 54. Rusty Olesz broke his point slump with an assist the other night after going 21 games without any. Based on his stellar play and Booth’s injury and the recall of Steve MacIntyre, Olesz probably gets moved up to the third line and possibly the second! Wow if I sucked at my job/career that bad, do you think I could get a promotion? Clearly a depth problem.
Tomas Vokoun who has been the one and only reason Florida has not hot fallen to 30th in the NHL this year is struggling a bit and has a 4.00 GAA while losing his last four games. While I think Vokoun starts tonight, it wouldn’t suprise me to see Scott Clemmensen get the call, or Vokoun get pulled if he’s sluggish.
The Senators are led by Daniel Alfredsson’s 63 points with 44 of them coming on assists and Mike Underwood Fisher leading in goals with 22, in addition to Jason Spezza who has racked up 45 points after missing 20 games with a torn ACL this season.
In goal for Ottawa will most likely be Brian Elliott who is 3-0-0 with a 0.62 GAA and a .981 save percentage in his last four games. He has stopped 96 of the last 98 shots he has faced and with Pascal Leclaire winless ih his last seven, Elliott could be the number one going into the playoffs.
Don’t forget folks, this one is a 7:00 P.M. start time in the Nations Capital.
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