The first individual to have a banner hung from the tarp covered Bank Atlantic Center will be Bill Torrey. The original architect of the Florida Panthers, the special ceremony will begin tonight promptly at 7:00 P.M. Please hold the loud music! Torrey made some very significant moves early on starting with the hiring of former Philadelphia Flyer Bobby Clarke as the teams first General Manager, and then acquiring such players as John Vanbiesbrouk, ScottMellanby, Brian Skrudland, Gord Murphy and Paul Laus. He put together a team that might not have been the most talented, but a team that played with pride and worked their arse off every night. Even if it was Roger Nielson style hockey-dump and chase- the Panthers competed.
Move forward to the present and it seems as though its starting all over again only this time Torrey is in more of an advisory role and Dale Tallon is the architect. All in all this is a very classy move by the organEYEzation.
On to the contest.
The New York Islanders come into town riding a 3 game winning streak with an overall record of 4-1-2. Players to watch consist of the young and talented John Tavares, as well as Matt Moulson and the red hot PA Parenteau. If the Islanders win tonight it would be their fifth win in eight games, something that took them 14 games to accomplish last season en route to the third point total in the Eastern Conference with 79.
Coming off back to back overtime victories the Islanders are 0-6-1 on the road against Florida and hope to extend their winning streak to four. Currently they’re on a stretch of ten of twelve games on the road. A very long October! Goaltending has been a bright spot and I’m not just talking about the pink pads that Rik DiPietro has been wearing on honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Both he and sidekick Dwayne Roloson, who never seems to age have been giving the Isles solid netminding, keeping them in games and giving New York chances to win. That’s all you can ask right?
The Florida Panthers meanwhile are coming off a very lackluster effort against the Dallas Stars Thursday night as they were bored and complacent in a 4-1 loss. The lone goal scored on a tip in, or redirection that was credited to Little Stevie. His first goal of the season. Whooo hoooo! The effort must be better tonight, and there’s no excuses for the type of effort they put forth the other night.
Expect Tomas Vokoun back in goal as he was relieved in the third period by Scott Clemmensen Thursday. Expect some line changes as well as David Booth is back on the first line with Stevie and Michael Frolik, who is struggling. Chris Higgins is moving down to the third line as he still is trying to find his first goal of the year. Also Shawn Matthias is out for tonight as he took a puck off his foot in practice. No word yet as of this typing on who takes his place in the lineup but Mike Santorelli gets promoted to the second line, which was going to happen anyway.
If Florida doesn’t come out flying tonight, then we will all be wondering if they have really settled back to their habits of last year. They need to play as aggressively and determined as they did in the first four games. Play with purpose and sense of urgency. No lapses, no standing around, and limit mistakes. Still missing is net presence not only at even strength, but on the power play as well.
Visit our Fansided opponent Eye On Isles for their perspective.
Hopefully tonight’s pre game festivites get them in the mood. Remember, ” We Came To Play”.
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