Shawn Matthias Celebrates. Source: TSN.ca

Buffalo’s Blades Dull, Panther’s Claws Sharp. Cats Win 6-2!


Coming off a disastrous 4-3 loss to the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night where the Florida Panthers chased goaltender Cam Ward in the first period, the Cats performed the same surgery against the Buffalo Sabres.  However instead of performing like Dr. Assman (please watch), the Panthers not only chased Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, they refused to let the Sabres back into the game.

With Marty Reasoner getting two goals in the first period and the Panthers scoring in all situations, even strength, power play, and short handed, Buffalo was down 4-0 after the first.  With a new set of people that ended up joining me at the game, I may need to make these same arrangements for the net time I go.  Why change up? There may be a good luck charm in this group.  The first period also saw goals from Bryan McCabe and David Booth, whose goal was on the power play.

Florida seemed to be all over the Sabres early in the first setting the tone for the game, and seemingly not having any ill effects of the Wednesday night fiasco.  Playing strong for 60 minutes was the recipe for tonight and with the exception of the last 30 seconds or so in the second period, this was a pretty complete game.  Comments from Little Stevie:

“We have to learn from our mistakes,” Weiss said. “In this league, you can’t worry about the score. You just have to stick with the plan and do what you do for 60 minutes then see where you are at. You start looking ahead and you get in trouble.
Stevie had a goal and an assist bringing his point total to 18 for the year, with 49 projected points for the season.  Missing practice on Thursday due to a runny nose upper body stiffness, he looked out of sorts.  Moreso than usual, but found a way to make a contribution.  Meaningless in the whole scheme of things, he did put points on the board.  You know I can’t compliment him, without a slap in the head.
Tomas Vokoun who played in his 600th career game made 41 saves with most of them not all that difficult.  He did however look sharp, relaxed and in control.  Handling the puck on a few occasions, he made sure exactly where he was sending it.  He credits the quick start, and the fact that the Panthers didn’t let up as the key to the victory.  Lessons learned?  We’ll see.
Buffalo was coming off one of their better wins of the season against the Boston Bruins and were hoping to get to .500 for the year, but came up short.  Taking the game lightly and with a slow start, maybe they felt this would be an easy one.  Maybe they get the “bag” skate before their next contest.  Scoring for Buffalo were Derek Roy and Tim Connoly. Patrick LaLime replaced Ryan Miller in goal after the first period and made 14 saves as the Panthers only had 20 shots on goal for the game.
Here’s the TSN boxscore.  Check out my podcast partner Tim Redinger at Sabre Noise.
Last night however was about finishing, and playing a complete game.  Stepping on the gas.  If anything can be taken from Wednesday night’s game and last night’s game it’s this.  When we play hard for 60 full minutes and don’t let up, we can stay play with most teams.  Good quick starts are key.  Letting up and becoming lazy will be our downfall every time. Hearing Cliff Viner, one of the Florida Panther owners cheering for the team in the owners box behind me was very refreshing.  Say what you will, he’s passionate.  That boys and girls is a good thing.
A new challenge comes on Monday.  Philadelphia.  Minus the injured Chris Pronger.

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Tags: Bryan Mccabe Buffalo Sabres Cam Ward David Booth Florida Panthers Ryan Miller Tomas Vokoun