After closing out the 2013 year with a shootout loss to the New York Rangers, the Florida Panthers were able to start the new year buzzing like a bee and register a win over the Nashville Predators in a shootout as well. Now even though starting the year with a win is pretty sweet, I have to say that was not the sweetest thing they produced that night. The honey to me was the production the Panthers got out of their “killer Bs.”
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch the game against the Predators but I was there at the arena for the Rangers game. It was a very bitter loss for me since 1) the Panthers got scored on late in the third period to send the game to overtime, 2) there were a lot of Rangers fans in the house and 3) it was the second time taking the same rubber rats to the arena and not being able to toss them down the ice. The first time was when my sister came down for the holidays and we bought the rats for the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 23rd and yea… all rats were grounded that day. But truthfully the fact that the rats were able to catch a ride back home with me for a second time was not nearly as frustrating as the Panthers not being able to produce during that game.
I for sure thought the Panthers would score during the power play they had with 12:13 left in the third period when Nick Bjugstad took a high stick from Brad Richards. Richards drew blood from Bjugstad and therefore it was called a double minor. What better way to end the year then to punish the Rangers for sending one of the Panthers’ best players to the locker room for medical assistance? I was ready to raise my arms and shout when the goal horn went off. But of course it never did. Once again, the Panthers had failed to produce on the man-advantage. This time it was 4 minutes instead of the common 2 minutes.
Of course there is nothing better than a Panthers win but now that Tim Thomas is back in net and gives this team a chance to win every night, it’s up to the players in front of him to produce to bring home the “W.” And it is due to the production obtained from the “killer Bs” (Brad Boyes, Aleksander Barkov, Sean Bergenheim, and Jonathan Huberdeau) that I was able to start the new year smiling. The youngest player on this team had 2 points and extended his point streak to 11 in his last 11 games. Boyes also had a goal and an assist and Bergy had a goal. And yes Huberdeau is a “killer B” as well as he is “Hubee.” Add his 2 assists and factor in the development of the biggest “killer B” of them all, Bjugstad, suddenly the Panthers look like they have a group that can produce.
Let’s not forget that game also marked the return of the beloved captain Ed Jovanovski after undergoing a huge hip procedure. But to see Barky and Hubee combine for 4 points in one game is music to my ears or honey in my mouth. Yes they are very young but if they can start combining for points on a nightly basis then the bees will be very busy in South Florida for the new year.