Tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center is The Biggest Hanukkah Party of The Year. It’s also Throwback Night. No it doesn’t mean we’re throwing Little Stevie back into the dog pile. But it’s not a bad idea eh? It’s because the Colorado Avalanche are visiting and we all know what happened in the spring of ’96 don’t we? Watch if you can.
The Avalanche bring their road struggles to South Florida, which hopefully is a good thing for the Panthers as the “Lanche” have lost five in a row away from Colorado. They also have dropped five of their last six games after a four game winning streak. However teams that struggle tend to come into South Florida and find the medicine for their ailments. The Panthers need to stop that trend tonight. Hopefully all the mishegas of tonight won’t distract them.
Young, fast, exciting, daring and skilled. That pretty much describes these Avalanche as they feature such players as Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and rookie defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. They also have a nice sprinkle of veterans on their roster. Milan Hejduk, John Michael-Liles and gritty warrior Adam Foote on defence. Craig Anderson the ex-Panther happens to be their number one netminder too. David Jones leads the Avs in goals with 11, as the posses a team that distributes the goal scoring among a number of players. Missing from the lineup, thankfully for the Panthers is Chris Stewart who is out with a broken hand. Chris is the brother of ex-Panther Anthony Stewart who is reviving his career in Atlanta. Tell me the Panthers couldn’t use his 15 points? Lesson? don’t put a goal scorer on the 4th line.
Colorado is 11-2-1 all-time against the Panthers, however they’ve lost the last two times they were here included a 6-5 shootout in December 2009.
The Panthers meanwhile are coming off a shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday as Michael Frolik had the game winner, and Scott Clemmensen made 40 saves in regulation. Tomas Vokoun gets the start tonight. But with the way Clemmensen has played lately, he’ll have to be just as good if not better. So that’s a good thing and a great position to be in. The onus boys and girls will fall to the offence, and that isn’t something to hang your yarmulke on.
The injury bug has hit the Cats right in the tuches as Chris Higgins has an infected foot, Radek Dvorak is out with a shoulder injury, and Cory Still-Man is out with back spasms. However Bryan Allen may be in the lineup tonight as he’s listed as probable. Allen has been recovering from a broken bone in his foot. His physical presence is certainly needed on the back end. Evgeny Dadonov has been recalled from Rochester for tonight’s game. Evgeny has eight goals and eight helpers for 16 points. Hopefully he can add some hutzpah to our anemic power play which is clicking at a ripe 8%.
As the title says, we need to be ready to climb a mountain. We need points. Lots of them and we need them now. It’s amazing that this early in the season we have to start playing with such desperation. If we don’t start putting together some three and four game winning streaks, there’s no way we’ll be able to make any progress in the standings. We have 22 points after 25 games. Regardless of how you think we have played, the points are what matters. There’s no column for effort.
Enjoy the game. I can’t watch or listen as I have a softball playoff game at 7:45. If we win, we go to the finals immediately after. Mazel Tof to me and to you Panthers.
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