In what might have been a much anticpated game between the Florida Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks, got off to a quick start with the Panthers getting some chances against former neminder Roberto Luongo. At just over three minutes in however, Ed Jovanovski got caught in the offensive zone as Erik Gudbranson tried to pinch in at the same time creating a two on one chance for the Canucks. With Gudbranson racing to get back, Dale Weise was able to beat Scott Clemmensen as he tried to go post to post, but was too late. The crowd seemed to have been taken out of the game at that point and a sluggish first period ended with Vancouver up 1-0.
The second period seemed to have significantly more energy as the Panthers tied the game up on a goal by Dmitry Kuilkov that was shortly followed up by a power play goal by Marcel Goc. The second goal was a result of traffic in front of the net, and Goc picking up the loose change from a shot by Kris Versteeg, putting it past Roberto Luongo. The Panthers outshot the Canucks heavily in this middle frame 14-2. I believe that Vancouver went slightly over 14 minutes without a shot on goal at one point.
The third period started out with the Canucks getting an early power play chance, but Scott Clemmensen who went on to become the game’s number one star was up to the task, turning away all shots fired at him. The Canucks outshot the Panthers in the final frame 14-2 with the second short from Florida not coming till about the 18:00 mark when Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg led a two on one with Versteeg shooting just above Luongo. The Canucks pulled their goaltender at just under a minute, but sealed their fate when Alex Burrows was called for interference with 29 seconds remaining, giving the Panthers a power play opportunity for the remaining ticks on the clock.
In my short summary here tonight, the first 20 minutes fortunately were tossed out the window, and the final 40 were some of the most exciting that we’ve seen. The Panthers did more than just hold their own, they shut down one of the most potent offences in the entire NHL. The performance tonight even earned some praise on NHL Tonight from Kevin Weekes. A win like this earns that respect, and will make believers out of the doubters.
Here’s the TSN BoxScore
Dave will have a full recap for you in the morning.
Thanks for reading.
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