FLORIDA PANTHERS: 31-23-12 (74 PTS.) vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: 40-21-5 (85 PTS.)
OPPOSITION SITE: PENS LABYRINTH
TODAY’S AWESOME GAME DAY SONG: ROCKY GROUND
There are 16 games left in the season. The Florida Panthers have spent 98 days in first place. A tremendous accomplishment considering where they were last season for sure. However, since the All-Star break they have been shutout four times, and have been consistently inconsistent for a couple of months. Last night’s drubbing to the Philadelphia Flyers puts them as Bruce’s song title indicates, on “Rocky Ground”. They lead Winnipeg and Washington by a slim two point margin each, which could dissolve this weekend.
Tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be easy. The Pens are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, and have won seven in a row to place them 4th in the Eastern conference. They have seven players on the TSN Gameday hot list, and no one is hotter than Evgeni Malkin, who has 19 points in his last 12 games. They are winning on a nightly basis all without star player Sidney Crosby who potentially could be back this weekend. Or maybe not.
I’m not going to go through any machinations about what’s going good, what’s going bad, and who’s to blame. You should know by now who’s stepping up, and who’s been invisible. The veteran leaders of this team need to come to the forefront. Brian Campbell puts it in perspective with his comments after last night’s game:
“We have to keep battling. We have to keep finding some chances any way we can,” said Brian Campbell,whose 40 assists rank second among NHL defensemen. “Any good team in this league is going to take advantage against us if we keep playing like this.”
One way to stop being taking advantage of is to play more physical. I’ve been saying this so often I sound like a broken record. Other than Erik Gudbranson tossing his weight and throwing punches, I’m not seeing much else. It’s time to get everybody to start hitting. Finishing checks with a purpose instead of tapping them with your stick, or pushing them as though you’re a pillow. Time to lay the boom!
Earlier today Dave’s recap featured a video from The Wire. It inspired me to look for a video to use for the pre game which I found from the show Homicide Life On The Street. If not the best show ever, the second best after the Wire. Some call it the father of The Wire, and I’d have to agree. Enjoy watching this segment with the song Boom Boom Boom by the Iguanas.
No numbers today. You want them, you can find all you like right here. I want to see a team that’s hungry, angry and determined. Throw the numbers out. Right now the only number I care about is tonight’s final score.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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