The Day After: Shorthanded Panthers Rescue A Point In OT Loss To Ottawa


Are you a former hockey player? Maybe played in college? Become really good in your beer league? Well, keep your phone handy, because maybe Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon may be calling you in the next day or so. Thursday night in Canada’s capital, not only did the Panthers drop a 4-3 OT game to the Ottawa Senators but, they also lost another forward to injury when Stephen Weiss left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. If you’re keeping count at home, and I know you are, Weiss is the seventh forward to go down with an injury as he’ll miss Friday’s game in Boston.

But even with a shorthanded team, the Panthers have shown the fight they have shown for the majority of the season as they battled back from three separate one-goal deficits in the game before Bobby Butler’s deflected game winner went through Scott Clemmensen’s legs 2:02 into overtime.

After getting a pretty raw deal from the officials on Tuesday night, Florida’s first goal was a direct result off a favorable play from them. Keaton Ellerby, skating behind his own net, was hit by Nick Foligno early in the second period. The officials deemed the hit a charge, ordered a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct, sending the hero the last time these two teams met to the showers early. After watching it more than a few times, it looked like the hit game with Ellerby either falling or reaching for the puck and only after impact did Foligno’s feet leave the ice. Nevertheless, the Panthers capitalized on the ensuing power play when a deflected puck bounced last off of Michal Repik’s skate (no kicking motion) past former Cat Craig Anderson to knot the game at 1.

Scoring picked up considerably in the third period, following a Daniel Alfredsson power play goal, Shawn Matthias quickly tied it up on a power play on a snap shot from the right face off dot, thanks to a great pass from Brian Campbell. Erik Karlsson’s slap shot from the point :38 later once again had the Panthers playing from behind.

With the Florida net empty, Kris Versteeg slotted a pass from the Sentors goal line to a hard-charging Tomas Kopecky, who patiently waited for Anderson to commit before pushing the equalizer past him with 1:12 remaining in the period. And there would be no later third period heroics in this game for the Senators as the game went to overtime before Butler’s game winner.

It’s not often you take solace in losing a game in overtime, but with the Panthers so shorthanded as they were, it almost seems like a small victory. The hard-earned point helps to keep the hard-charging Winnipeg Jets at bay a little longer as the division lead is still six points. But it appears this group as they were on Thursday, is going to be required to hold down the fort for a while longer as the injuries mount, a tough task considering the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers are headed into town, next week. Tallon’s moves have help give the organization more depth, but having to replace 7/12 of your forward group is a little much to ask for any franchise. The rash of injuries is now starting to affect areas like the penalty kill, which has allowed four PP goals in the past two contest. Weiss’ injury means that Mark Cullen will get the call up from San Anotnio, which is obviously helps out the Bruins a great deal, not that they need it.

Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is a healthy group of forwards.

Jared Crozier of Fansided’s excellent Senators has the recap from the Ottawa perspective right here.

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