Thursday, October 30, 2008

Senators vs. Panthers: Preview

The opponent: Ottawa Senators. The Sens are 3-5-1 on the young season, although they are coming off of an good showing in a 5-2 win in Buffalo on Monday. The top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza is an impressive offensive unit. They combined for 3 goals and 7 points in their win on Monday. Alex Auld will get his 2nd straight start in net for Ottawa. Auld actually came into the NHL with the Panthers, who drafted him in the 2nd round of the 1999 entry draft.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are 4-4-0 and coming off of their worst performance of the year; a 4-0 shutout in St. Louis. The Cats special teams have been the talk of the town through the first 8 games, albeit for all the wrong reasons. 0 for 14 in the last 4 games, the powerplay has struggled to find any kind of flow. The penalty kill is 25th in the league at 75%.

With all the injuries on defense, the Panthers signed Jassen Cullimore on Tuesday. He is still stuck in Canada, thanks to some sort of immigration issues. So the thin blue line (pun intended) may get some help from winger Wade Belak. According to the Sun Sentinel, Belak has spent the last 2 days practicing as a defenseman. "If I'm on 'D' it's fine — I'm comfortable back there," he said. "It doesn't really matter. I've been [switching] my whole career." Add another "B" to the Killer B's on the "B"lue line.

Another addition to tonight's game; the highly anticipated debut of Shawn Matthias. Through 8 games played with AHL affiliate Rochester, Matthias has just 1 goal and 1 assist. We'll see what kind of action he gets tonight, if any.

The Panthers did take the first game in the series earlier in the year. Despite being outshot 26-3 in the third period, Craig Anderson stood tall and the Cats won 3-1. Martin Gerber was in net for the Senators. Tonight, 2 different 'tenders will be 'tween the pipes (Auld for the Senators, Vokoun for the Cats). Game time is 7:30.


Whale4ever said...

Pay no attention to Matthias' point totals in Rochester. Gonna be an entirely different scenario here.

Stanley C. said...

I certainly hope so. Although I was expecting to see him up before Frolik, but Fro's been playin since day 1. We shall see!