Friday night’s contest in Sunrise looked very much like a game that neither team wanted to win. The Tampa Bay Lightning gave the Florida Panthers power play after power play by taking bad penalties and the Panthers responded by squandering the opportunities. The Florida power play went 0-for-7, including a 5-on-3 opportunity in the third. Instead, the game ended up in the shootout where former Cat Dominic Moore scored the only goal (albeit, a controversial one) to give Tampa a 2-1 shootout win.
Moore’s goal was reviewed in Toronto after it looked like he may have had two swats of the stick at the puck. After review, the goal stood (correctly, in my opinion) and the game was over, sending the Bank Atlantic Center crowd of 17,328 (the largest, pro-Panther crowd I’ve seen this season) home unhappy.
The extra session provided as much excitement as the previous 60 minutes. Dennis Wideman had a chance to end it with just over a minute gone but ended up putting a point blank shot in Dan Ellis‘ pad. Wideman said of the opportunity:
I’ve got to have more patience there. I’ve got to realize that there’s not someone right on me and I can pull it back and just get it over his pad….I’ve got to make a better play. Should’ve been over.
Vinny Lecavalier could have ended the game himself three minutes later on a penalty shot, after it was ruled that Bryan Allen took him down on a breakaway (looked like he got the puck first), but Tomas Vokoun stuffed the attempt with his right pad.
It was the third game in a row the Panthers left points on the ice that could have been theirs. I don’t know exactly what the stats are but I’m willing to bet that the Lightning don’t have many wins when Steven Stamkos and Martin St Louis don’t even record a shot, which happened Friday.
The Panthers close the homestand 3-0-3, collecting nine out of a possible twelve points. Pete DeBoer said of the past six games:
We have to keep building on that. We’ve got some injury issues here now and the kids have to continue to keep us competitive. But it was a good homestand and it keeps us in the mix.
And while the homestand was successful, the Cats left three big points out there that could’ve had them further in the mix. A look at the Eastern Conference standings shows that the lost points would certainly put the Panthers within prime pouncing range of both Carolina and Atlanta. But now the points have to come on the road, as the Panthers hit the bricks for a six game trip that takes them to the Northeast and Eastern Canada. They won’t see the Bank Atlantic Center again until February 8th against the St Louis Blues.
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Topics: Atlanta Thrashers, Bank Atlantic Center, Bryan Allen, Carolina Hurricanes, Dan Ellis, Dennis Wideman, Dominic Moore, Eastern Conference, Florida Panthers, Martin St.louis, St Louis Blues, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Vokoun, Vincent Lecavlier