Panther Preview: The Frenchmen Have Flown South.

I won’t be at tonight’s game.  I’ll be watching from the comfort of my living room without the annoying Montreal Fan base that will undoubtedly fill the Bank Atlantic Center tonight.  (That does not include my Montreal Twitter friends)  Thank you though you proud Canadian fans for coming to our stadium and filling it up.  I am sure the atmosphere for you will feel almost like you’re at home anyway.  No disrespect to the home team, but that is what it will be like tonight.

The Montreal Canadians and their fearful fearless leader Uncle Jack Martin are on a southern swing road trip and will be looking to win their third straight game tonight.  Coming off a lackluster performance against the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday, the Habs won 3-1 despite their poor effort.  Montreal was outshot 41-23 (sound familiar), but netminder Carey Price was outstanding.  In addition Montreal killed all five of Atlanta’s power play chances.

The Smufs who got a little smaller at the deadline by acquiring Nigel Dawes are lead in goals by Brian Gionta with 23 and in points by Tomas Plekanec (wow I did that right the first time) with 49, have the 8th best power play in the NHL.  The Florida Panthers meanwhile have the number three ranked penalty killing unit.  Thank you very much Gord Murphy.  Montreal does have seven players with at least 10 goals or more in it’s lineup, so as ling as Uncle Jack lets them put their foot on the gas pedal they can be offensively dangerous.  However as we all know and remember, he still fades into that prevent defence which is so frustrating to sit through.

The Panthers who gave quite the effort on Tuesday against Carolina are playing spoilers and for jobs.  Taking 42 shots against Cam Ward in that game, only one puck went in as the Cats dropped another one goal game, this by a score of 2-1.  The Panthers have now lost two straight and 11 of 15 and has scored only six goals in their last five games.  They have also lost eight of nine at the Bank Atlantic Center.

Also, they are o for 12 in their last four games on the power play, and are 0 for 12 in the games they have played against Montreal this year as well.

When you look at the TSN Gameday preview you’ll see that the only hot player for Florida is goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Mike Santorelli are all tied with 17 goals a piece.  Speaking of goals, remember our old friend Michael Frolik?  He finally scored last night!

Finally, speaking of Stephen Weiss, he appears to be the front runner for the Captain’s position here with the club.  Now, I have two opinions which will most likely garner a ton of things thrown my way, but you know me.  I am the rebel! For the balance of the season, just go with three A’s.  Re-evaluate once we get through free agency and get to training camp.  Secondly, and I’m almost begging, please don’t do it!  Just don’t!

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Tags: Bank Atlantic Center Captain Carey Price Florida Panthers Montreal Canadians Nigel Dawes Smurfs Snowbirds Stephen Weiss Tomas Vokoun

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