Feb 12, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) carries the puck through as Florida Panthers defenseman Tyson Strachan (23) battles during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Panthers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Florida Panthers New Game Plan: "Release The Strachan"!


A good reporter never reveals his sources, but in this case it’s a must.  Sunday afternoon with the Florida Panthers trailing the New York Islanders 1-0, defenseman Tyson Strachan who was called up after Dmitry Kulikov went down with an injury over a week ago,  scored his first NHL goal on a blistering slapshot that you’ll see in the video below.  As we were watching the game at the Rat Trick household, Mrs. Rat Trick announced “Release The Strachan”!  And thus the phrase was born for NHL purposes.


As you can see the shot from just inside the point was a bullet that deflected off of Islander defenceman Steve Staois, and past netminder Evgeni Nabokov to tie the game at one.  It would be the first goal for Strachen as he played in his 75th NHL game, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  With the Florida Panthers down three regular defencemen (Ed Jovanovski, Dmitry Kulikov and Jason Garrison), Strachan has stepped up to the plate and played like a veteran who’s been here all along.  The goal gave the Florida Panthers a shot in the arm, and obviously boosted their confidence as the game continued on the way to a 4-1 road victory.  The victory would create additional space between the division leading Panthers and the Washington Capitals who lost earlier in the afternoon to the New York Rangers.

With Brian Campbell and Mike Weaver as the only defencemen in the lineup Sunday to play more than 103 NHL games, coach Kevin Dineen was faced with using four blueliners that together have played a total of 224 contests in the NHL.  Cause for concern?  Maybe, however with the way that Strachan has played over the last eight games that he’s participated in, he’s made his minutes count.  So far on the season Tyson has been credited with 12 hits, has taken seven shots, is a plus 3 (Jay Bo is a -10), and has played mistake free hockey.  In yesterday’s game which also featured the NHL debut of Colby Robak, Strachen played a very reliable 16:27, mostly paired with Keaton Ellerby.

The depth of the Florida Panthers organization has been one of the key elements to the team’s success this season.  Earlier in the year the forwards were banged up, and now the injury bug has hit the back end.  Tyson Strachan however has come in and has made the most of his chances.  It’s been a long road for the 27 year old blueliner who hails from Melfort, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  His previous NHL experience consisted of 67 games with the St. Louis Blues spanning three seasons.

He’s not known for his scoring,  but rather his stay at home defensive style and physical play, however when we needed him most, he’s certainly came through.  Congrats Tyson on your first NHL goal, and here’s hoping you have many more, especially those that are of the “clutch” kind.

Careful NHL.  You never know the next time the Florida Panthers will have to unveil their new weapon and:


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