It’s been a crazy week hasn’t it? First on Tuesday night while the Florida Panthers were playing the Colorado Avalanche, I was playing playoff softball in 30 degree weather. We won the first game beating the best team in the league when yours truly grabbed a hot smash at third base, stepped on the bag and fired to first to complete the double play to end the game! Beat that Little Stevie! Then we came back down to earth and lost game two to finish second on the season. While that was going on the Cats ran out of yarmulke’s to hand out (Caity Kauffman provided some in person details on Twitter), forgot to wear their throwback red home sweaters, but beat Colorado in overtime as Little Stevie scored 43 seconds into overtime. Someone said it was dramatic. Feh!
Then Florida goes into Washington to play the Capitals and has the ugliest 39 minutes I’ve seen in quite some time. Taking eight penalties, which if memory is right, were by eight different players, throwing in a couple two man disadvantages to boot. Yet gave up no goals and scored one themselves when Michael Frolik buried the puck with one tick left on the clock in the second period. The Panthers scored two more and shutout the Capitals for their third win in a row. Crazy right?
Tonight Florida goes into Nashville to take on the Predators, a team that scared the living crap out of me last post season when they played the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. No other team that the Hawks faced during the post season caused me to tighten my sphinchter muscle more than Nashville. And now with the week that I’ve had, the Panthers have to face them. I’m looking to use my employee assistance program for the first time ever and get some counseling.
While the Panthers are looking for their fourth consecutive win, they haven’t won in Nashville in 11 years. Shut up! No it’s true. Two former Predators Mike Santorelli and Tomas Vokoun hope to change that tonight. Santorelli leads the Panthers in goals with eight, while Vokoun played one of his better games in Washington on Thursday getting his third shutout of the season making 36 saves. The last time Florida won four straight? March 2008 when Uncle Jack was behind the bench. Thankfully he won’t be this time. Could you imagine his paint drying style versus the Nashville shutdown operation driven by Barry Trotz. UGH!
Speaking of the Predators, they are 5-1-5 at home this season, and sit in the eight spot in the extremely competitive Western Conference. Steve Sullivan leads the team in goals with 8 and Cal O’Reilly leads in points with 18. Not overly impressive right, but with the forechecking style they play, goal scoring is not only secondary, it’s not something that worries them. They have no superstar per se, but have players that at the right times can be dangerous, and posses one of the leagues best defensive pairs. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are two players that will make you pay the price, and are very tough to play against.
Anders Linkback will get the start in goal for Nashville as he fills in for Pekka Rinne who is out with knee surgery. Lindback is a tall Swedish goaltender standing at 6′ 6″, covering a lot of net. That could be a problem for the low scoring Panthers who sometimes can’t hit water if they were falling out of a boat. I haven’t seen too much of Nashville this year, but I imagine that Mr. Trotz has continued to convince his players that his way is the right way. During the season it seems to be, yet in the playoffs, it’s become apparent that things are different. But those are still a few months away.
So if you’re expecting a fast paced and exciting game tonight, you might want to drink heavily beforehand. Otherwise, paint your living room wall and watch it dry. You’ll get the same result. A perfect Saturday night. A perfect excuse to call Dr. Fraiser Crane!
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