James Wisniewski Scores Twice In Montreal's Win

Unlikely Hero, Recurring Problems, Ruin New Years Eve.


I had thought of a few other titles for this post game review, but I’ll leave the snide remarks to you guys and gals.  Bottom line on this one is, James Wisniewski the newly acquired defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens scored twice, including the overtime winner.  And the special teams of the Florida Panthers failed them.  Again.

As has happened many times before, the Panthers had a chance to get to .500 against a team that was struggling, and coming off a loss the night before, but in the end couldn’t get the job done.  On top of it, the Panthers squandered a two goal lead on their home ice in front of a sold out crowd.  Forget the fact that it was mostly Montreal Fans, it was a perfect opportunity to end the year on a positive note.

Stephen Weiss and Dmitry Kulikov scored the goals for the Panthers as they jumped out to the 2-0 lead early in the second.  That was all the offence that would be created as coach Peter DeBoer was not happy with his forwards.

I don’t think the shot total told the story of the game as far as scoring chances,’’ Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. “I thought our forwards as a group didn’t create anything. That was 1 through 12, and you’re not going to win many games when that happens.

There were some other issues that contributed to the loss.  Tomas Vokoun again getting his unfair share of pucks thrown at him, tied his season high total of saves by making 45.  In the last three games the goaltenders for the Panthers have had to make over 120 stops.  Nuts!  But Vokoun was also upset at some of the “rookie” type penalties and mistakes that the youngsters had made.  Both Mike Santorelli and Evgeny Dadonov, two players recently featured here on this site as turning the corner, took poor penalties that helped create Montreal’s scoring chances.

Topping it off Florida could not covert on six power play chances and a five on three advantage.  Boys and girls, that right there is the game.  And it’s been the story of the games we have been losing all season, most of them by one goal.  Forget the fact that Montreal has the leagues best penalty killing unit, you get six chances and a two man advantage during a game, you have to convert on at least one of those.

David Neal covering the game for George Richards at the Miami Herald talks about the wasted chances by Florida.  Harvey Fialkov from the Sun Sentinel tells us how flat the Panthers were, especially in the first period.

Alex Auld the former Florida Panther, now turned into a journeyman backup made his fourth start of the season, and got the victory for Montreal.  He didn’t have to work hard as he stopped only 20 shots on the night.

The TSN boxscore.

The recurring problems that need fixing are the following:

* Better starts to games, especially at home.  This is a preparation problem.

* Cut down the shots against.  You cannot ask your goaltender’s to make 40 plus saves every night.

* Figure out a way to do something with this awful power play.  More creativity, more shots, better puck control, a body in front of the net.  Etc, etc.  This one area alone has cost us at least 5 victories. That’s ten points for those of you running for a calculator.

* Learn how to hold the lead.  Better yet, learn how to step on the gas and get that killer instinct.  A 2-0 lead is the most unsafe lead in hockey.  But when it’s in your building, against a tired team on the last game of a seven game road trip, where they are 1-5, in front of a sellout crowd, c’mon.  That should be enough motivation for anyone!

Steven Reinprecht was placed on waivers shortly before the start of the game.  Rhino who is the second year of a 3 year deal will most likely clear waivers and then be sent to Rochester.  A signing that has not worked out, as Rhino has 48 points in 111 games for Florida, but has been digressing since his arrival.

Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak and Rusty Olesz all dressed and played in last nights game.  They have all been out with injuries and it showed.  The trio were ineffective and not in game shape.  In one of the biggest games of the season playing all three might have been a mistake.  Another recurring problem.

Thanks for reading.  Your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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Tags: Alex Auld Florida Panthers James Wisniewski Montreal Canadiens Tomas Vokoun

  • slapshot1106

    Panthers have been playing from behind all year because of the bad contracts… I know it would never happen, but they could’ve sent a message early on in the season by placing multiple guys on waivers… Not just Rhino, but Stillman for sure…. I realize that they’re desperate and giving Olesz more time, but I’d say cut your losses and move on…. As of now, all they are is depth players. If that’s the case, buy them out and save a % of $$$ to eventually acquire someone that can produce…

    Tallon didn’t sign those contracts, so it’s clearly not his fault, but send a message using waivers and buy-outs so some of the $$$ could be written off… There’s no chemistry with these aging vets that are put back into the line-up way too quickly just because they come back from injury… None of them offer enough productivity, so play the young guys and give us some hope for the future… enough of the retreads…
    We’re re-building with youth. So cut some of your losses and move on… Sure they’re trying to do it now with Rhino, but a little late and they’re just rewarding mediocrity by keeping many of these guys around… Weed it out. Don’t wait for the trade deadline. Send a message, and play some energy guys that provide excitement. Even if they don’t score, so be it. But stop making us watch washed-up vets that clearly don’t have it anymore…

    • Frank Rekas

      Slap Shot: Agreed. Personally I don’t think that Stillman, Rhino and Olesz have anything to offer any more. The problem is that with the structure of contracts, it’s tough to move these guys. I’ve said it before, I will say it again, JM had no business being a general manager. When he left he should have taken some of these duds with him. So be it.

      My guess is that they play Stillman and Olesz to showcase them. The problem with that is other players who deserve the time, aren’t going to get it, and that hurts.

      We’re ten points out of a playoff spot. Playing two of those three last night made not sense to me.

  • slapshot1106

    This is one area I do fault PDB. At some point, you have to stick with the MAJORITY of the line-up that’s gotten you some points lately.. Not many guys on this squad are overly talented to trump this rule of thumb… I think the chemistry and energy that the young guys bring is a breath of fresh air, and yes I agree putting all 3 in at once was too much of a change… Even as they had a 2-0 lead, it wasn’t that they were dominating, moreso just FORTUNATE.. So they cashed in on a few opportunities, but there was never any sense yesterday that these guys were on the same page…

    As far as showcasing Stillman, Rhino, Dvorak, and even Olesz, I just don’t see any demand out there… Even if you put Stillman with Crosby, I don’t think he could keep up or would add anything to benefit Sid’s game… I think Tallon could put all those guys on waivers without anybody even slightly interested… Maybe, and still a pretty big maybe someone considers one of them on re-entry..

    That’s where I’d start. Put them all on waivers. If someone grabs them and is willing to take on those salaries, so be it.. If not, go to re-entry. All of them except maybe Dvorak aren’t even worth half what they’re making now. So see if you can get rid of any or all… I know they’re holding out to see if they could get a 4th or 5th round pick, but I just don’t see it happening…

    Call up Thomas, McArdle, maybe even Repik and see if they can energize the team… Play Hordichuk every game, Bitz when he’s back, and let the deadweight be gone… They’re only kidding themselves if they think there’s interest in our aging vets… Other non-playoff teams have similar aging vets that surely have more demand than ours…

    • Frank Rekas

      The only thing that I think that has prevented them from waiving them earlier is money. Maybe now with the season closing in on the halfway point they might be more inclined to do it. Thus not being stuck with so much salary.

      Believe me, I agree that besides Dvorak, Olesz, Stillman and Rhino offer nothing at this point. Nothing personal against any of them, but it hasnt worked out.

      Move on.

  • David Lasseter

    Want to see something maddening? Look at the TOI totals from this game, especially the PP times! Dadonov has six seconds of PP time, but Bernier, Olesz and Stillman have over 2 mins a piece?! Heck, Bernier had almost four minutes of PP time! It defies logic. Keep playing the older stiffs at the determent of young guys who have performed for the most part.