Coming into Wednesday night’s road tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the story for the Florida Panthers was that they had chased the opposing teams goalie in the past three games. The Cats got a taste of their own medicine as the Pens put three goals past Tomas Vokoun in ten minutes of play and sent him to the bench. By then, the damage had been done as Pittsburgh cruised to a 5-2 win.
Any thought that the Penguins would look past Florida with the Washington Capitals on their Thursday schedule were quickly squashed as Mark Letestu put one past Vokoun 1:30 into the game. Stephen Weiss fired back just over a minute later to tie the game at 1.
Sidney Crosby and Matt Cooke (ugh) fired goals at 7:44 and 10:57 to end Vokoun’s night. Scott Clemmensen turned another great effort in relief, allowing only one goal on 19 shots. But by then, it was too little, too late as the Panthers missed their chance for a .500 record.
This was just one of those nights where the team needed to be close to perfect in all phases to have a chance to win and it didn’t happen. The Panthers didn’t really play bad, despite the score. They did manage to get 37 shots at Pittsburgh netminders Marc-Andre Fleury (who played the third period in relief of an injured Johnson). Just a game where they ran into one of the hottest teams in the league with the hottest player in Crosby (22 game pt streak and 28pts in last 14 games).
The team has a short turnaround as it plays Thursday night in Buffalo before the Chirstmas break. Expect the Sabres to come out with energy as they look to erase the 6-2 loss the Panthers handed to them last Friday in Sunrise.
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