Panther Preview: A Wing And A Prayer

The Florida Panthers will be closing out a five game homestand tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.  The homestand has not been all that successful and the Panthers have dropped six of their past seven at home, and have scored more than two goals only once in that stretch.  But Mr. Knowsnothing from last Sunday still believes that goaltending is our issue.  I continue to defend my case that goal scoring is our issue!

The Dead Wings (a Chicago term, as you don’t want the other) come in after trouncing the Tampa Bay Lightning last night 6-2, and are on a three game winning streak.  The Wings also have the third best road record in the league going 18-8-2 and sit second overall in the Western Conference, and first in the Central Division.

Pavel Datysuk who has returned from injury recently has four goals and three assists in five games.  In the eight games he has played against the Panthers he has scored four goals and has seven assists.  Johan Franzen, known as The Mule, leads Detroit in goals with 26, while Henrik Zetterberg leads in points with 63.  A bunch of guys are on the “hot” list in scoring for Detroit.  You can look at the TSN preview to see for yourself.

The Panthers if they aren’t careful could get mesmerized by this team.  The ultimate in puck possession play, the ability to play almost anyway they want, and a team that has that uncanny way of forcing you to make mistakes.  Oh, and if anyone wants to see the real definition of net presence, or how to have a guy in front of your goalie, watch Tomas Holmstrom.  He has made a living screening goaltenders, and I’d like to see all the cross check marks on his back from the years of hacking he’s taken.

Jimmy Howard was the winning goaltender last night as he made 38 saves for his 29th win of the season.  Not sure who we’ll see in net and Joey MacDonald is the backup.  How can a team with goalies named Jimmy and Joey be so good?  Sounds like two punks I used to hang out with in 7th grade.

The Florida Panthers hope to stay in the playoff picture, but the phrase wing and a prayer can be taken literally now.  Seven points behind Carolina, the Panthers find themselves in 12th place.  And guess what faithful readers?  The Toronto Maple Leafs have passed us.  And, New Jersey is only five points back! Bet the four of you didn’t know that!

To have been so close for so long has finally caught up to them and while mathematically we are still in it, it would most likely take an awful lot of things to happen for the playoffs to become a reality.  Like the sky falling I think!

Kenndal McArdle has been recalled form Rochester to play in today’s game.  Steve Bernier will be back in the lineup and Darcy Hordichuk will apparently be scratched.

The last time the Red Wings lost here in Florida was in 1996, when the Panthers won 3-1.   Little Miss Rat Trick was still in diapers back then.  Great times!

See you at the game!

By the way, trades are heating up as the deadline is 10 days away.  I know it’s stressful, but hang in there boo boo.  It will be over soon.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments or rants.

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Tags: Dead Wings Detroit Red Wings Florida Panthers Pavel Datysuk Plauyoff Hopes Tomas Homatrom Trade Deadline Wing And A Prayer

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