Cardiac Cats Find A Way To Win

Celebration In Overtime. Source: Canadien Press

Today’s music selection is The Catalyst by Linkin Park.  Because each night it seems someone takes that role for the win!

I know that at least three people will admit to reading this site, but I’m beginning to wonder if there’s more of you out there.  And of the more, are you someway, somehow involved with playing for the Florida Panthers?  Or coaching them? Seems that since I went on my tirade on December 16, 2010 there’s been a turnaround.  With last night’s cardiac event where the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime, the Cats are now 5-1-2 and have picked up 12 out of a possible 16 points.  Coincidence? Maybe.

In a game where you had that errie feeling of oh no, here it comes again, the Panthers lost another lead in the third period.  Your only thought could be, another lead lost, another game lost, and falling further behind in the playoff race. On top of it the record at the RBC Center in Raleigh was 5-25-2 prior to last night’s tilt.  So if you wanted to bet your Christmas bonus on the end result you had a pretty good chance of being right.  But that’s why I don’t gamble.  It’s cheaper to drink.

Here’s the TSN box score.

Bryan Allen joined the ranks of surprising heroes for this year’s team with a long slap shot that found it’s way past the glove hand of Hurricane netminder Cam Ward for the winning goal at 1:16 of the overtime period.  The win put the Panthers above .500 (18-17-2) for the first time since the Clinton administration I don’t know when.

In a building with a poor history to go along with a fragile outlook as the lead began to shrink and disappear, you can’t help but be happy for these guys.  As well as having your heat stop skipping beats.  A win is a win, but we also let Carolina get a point out of it.  Hopefully that doesn’t bite us in the arse later this season.

Scott Clemmensen who started in goal made 34 saves on the night.  It’s strange to see that as well as he’s played his record is only 2-4-1.  needless to say, goal support he got as Cory Stillman, Chris Higgins and Dennis Wideman scored the Panthers goals in regulation.  In playing the second game of back to back contests fatigue was a concern and obviously played a role.

“You could see we hit the wall in the third period,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “They got some momentum with a goal and cranked it up. Clemmensen made saves to keep us alive. It seemed like everything was against us, the calls, the building, the momentum. But we found a way to win. That’s the big thing.”
Monday nights game is the first of five consecutive games against division opponents this week.  Atlanta, Washington twice and Carolina again Friday will all take place within this eight day period.  A test of the character and mental toughness of this group of players that seems to be gelling together as a unit.  I’m not making any predictions or any statements other than the fact that, they are playing better than we expected, and they are competing.  Right now we can’t ask for more than that.
My Molson Canadien player of the Game:  Bryan Allen!
I said early on in the season that we’d have to manage our expectations.  And that if we did that, we’d feel pretty good about the outcome of these games.  This night was a heart stopper.  And it had nothing to do with that good looking kid Erik Gudbranson helping team Canada with a win over the US in World Junior tournament play.  Well maybe a little.
There’s a lot to be excited about going forward with this team and the youngsters that are on display in the WJC.   Last night’s Panther win was a confidence builder against an opponent that has historically given them fits.  You have to admit, it’s good to see.

Thanks for reading.  Your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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Tags: Cam Ward Cardiac Cats Carolina Hurricanes Florida Panthers Scott Clemmensen WJC Tournament

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