Did that feel good or what?!?! Since the initial joy of their season opening win against Carolina, the Panthers and their fans have had little to cheer about. That all changed tonight with the Panthers getting a victory over the Winnipeg Jets, 6-3. Everyone got in on the action as the Panthers saw goals from Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg, Peter Mueller, Alex Kovalev, Johnathan Huberdeau and Tomas Kopecky. Special teams played a huge role in the game with the Panthers scoring three of their six goals with the extra man. Meanwhile Winnipeg went 0 for 3 in power play opportunities. With the score tied 1-1 going into the third period, the game opened up as the teams traded early period goals to tie the game at two. Tobias Enstrom then put the Jets up 3-2 but from there it was all Panthers. Florida put four unanswered goals on the board to close out Winnipeg and secure their second win of the season.
Former Panther Olli Jokinen scored his second goal of the season 1:23 into the third period putting Winnipeg up 2-1. While the goaltending was steady through the first two periods, it seemed like neither keeper made it out of the locker room to play the third. The teams combined to score seven goals on eighteen shots in the final period. Jose Theodore picked up the win for Florida stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced while Ondrej Pavelec took the loss for Winnipeg stopping 28 of 33.
The win for Florida was a huge boost as the team begins a huge road trip starting Sunday in Buffalo. The Cats will be playing four games in seven days with stops in Buffalo, Winnipeg, Philadelphia and Washington. At this early stage of the year, a trip such as this can be season defining and the win tonight gives the Panthers a confidence boost going into the tough slate of games ahead of them.
Post Game Points
- Scott Upshall looked like he may have come up lame after a fight with James Wright. Upshall appeared to have hurt his leg and went straight to the locker room after the fight.
- One rule change that has been instituted this season is the 2:00 penalty given to a player who wears a visor on their helmets and instigates a fight. I love this rule and think it makes perfect sense. We saw this rule in action tonight as James Wright incurred an additional two minutes for instigating the fight with Upshall.
- Drew Shore had another strong game going 7-11 on face offs and getting some minutes on the power play while centering the second line alongside Mueller and Huberdeau. While he is still looking for his first NHL goal, it is sure to come if he keeps up the level of play he is currently exhibiting.
- Peter Mueller has scored goals in three consecutive games which is excellent to see from the new Panther. The goals are nice, but its his hair that’s the real story. I’ll let this picture do the talking.
- With the score tied 3-3 I was really nervous about having Theodore in the net. Theo allowed some shaky goals tonight as well as the past few games. I never really had that feeling last season as Theo could usually be counted on to make the easy stops. While I am sure Theodore will be fine, its something to keep an eye on.