The Day After: The Florida Panthers Get A Rock For Halloween


Monday night at the Bank Atlantic Center, it was another case of good news, bad news for the Florida Panthers. The good news was that, once again, the team found a way to score that clutch goal that’s been missing in Panthers teams in recent past. The bad news was that, for the third time this season, they found a way to give the tying (or winning goal) shortly thereafter. Monday’s lapse left the team on the wrong end of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

But this time, the tying goal wasn’t so cut and dry. Evander Kane‘s apparent tally was almost immediately waved off by referee Tom Kowal because it appeared it had been put in with a high stick. The officials asked the war room in Toronto, a place where the Panthers haven’t had much luck over the years (this past Saturday being the exception) who ruled it a good goal after a few minutes of deliberations. The call tied the game up less than two minutes after Tomas Fleischmann‘s second goal of the game had given the Panthers their first lead of the night and help send the game into overtime.

The magnitude of the call wasn’t lost on head coach Kevin Dineen:

"“When you get it waved off that emphatically, the referee skating there and he waves it off three or four times. You’re under the assumption that it’s going to be a no-goal. And then when you get a replay in your dressing room relayed to you that it is no goal, I thought we were in pretty good stead there. It’s surprising, very surprising that it would go from that to all of a sudden goal when a guy is waving it off that much. It’s a shame. I think some people learned some lessons from that. I think there was a mistake made on the ice and unfortunately, it cost us a point, a very expensive point.”"

From replay, it looked to be a very close call. After Kowal waved off the goal, the entire officiating crew got together and evidently decided it was a goal before going to the replay in Toronto. With the video being inconclusive, the call on the ice, which was a goal unbeknownst to most in the arena, had to stand.

Defenseman Brian Campbell, who picked up another two assists in the game (11th on the season, second most in league), understands that the late game lapses could prove large down the line:

"“Kevin is putting out guy’s that he trusts and you’ve got to be willing to do the job. Obviously, there is some things that we need to learn. It can be fairly basic, so, you know, there’s some things that we’re breaking down, that we’re not doing. I know you say it’s early in the season but look at the standings every day and it’s a dogfight. So when you get a chance to get them (points for a win), you want to get them.”"

The Cats came out buzzing to start and close the first period but could only make one dent late in the period when Jason Garrison‘s slap shot of a Campbell pass ripped past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. The goal was the fifth on the year for Garrison, the most of any defenseman in the league this season and equaled his total from last year in just eleven games. It put the Panthers on the board after a sloppy stretch earlier in the period allowed the Jets to pocket two goals.

After an uneventful second period, Fleischmann knotted things up at two early in the third when he put back in a rebound of a Mike Weaver shot. In the shootout, the Panthers couldn’t get one past Pavelec, while Andrew Ladd and Kyle Wellwood converted their chances to seal the win.

Equally as troubling as the late goal was, once again, the lack of scoring from anyone other than a first line forward or a defenseman. On Monday, Patrick wrote how there needed to be some contributions from others and this last game once again illustrated why. There isn’t a good reason why guys like Scottie Upshall and Mike Santorelli, to name two, shouldn’t have a few more tallies in the points column. Maybe the slow start can be traced to the chemistry issues so many predicted for this team out of the gates, but this team needs them to click and click soon because you can’t expect one line to carry the scoring burden for very long and expect to be a playoff team.

You can check out the box score here at the Panthers site. You can also see post game interviews with Dineen and Fleischmann on The Rat Trick’s You Tube Page, RatTrickVideo.

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