The Panthers got an overtime win in Ottawa tonight, thanks to a Stephen Weiss slap shot with just 9 seconds left in the 4th period. The Senators probably should have ended the game a few times, but Craig Anderson slid across and denied Mike Fisher's one timer, and Jason Spezza had an open net, but whiffed on his one timer effort. The Senators may also have been robbed by the men in stripes. The Panthers got 3 power plays in the 3rd period, including 2 over the last 6 minutes. Ottawa got zero, and probably should have had at least a couple. But the Panthers managed to get it to overtime, and Weiss got the game winner to push the Panthers hot streak to 5-1-2 over their last 8.
The Sens and Cats exchanged goals through the first 2 periods, with Ottawa taking a 1-0 lead, and then the Panthers answering back each time Ottawa scored. In the 3rd, Ottawa took control of the game, and outshot the Cats 19-12 over the final period and the overtime. But Andy stood tall, and made up for a couple of soft goals given up in the earlier periods. As bad and out of position he was in the first 2, he was that much better when it counted. It feels like only a matter of time before all the action Andy has gotten will catch up to him. After all, he's only appeared in more then 20 games once in his NHL career (he's played in 14 this season already). With a 3-game in 4-day stretch coming up, Vokoun's going to get his chance.
Michal Repik scored in his NHL debut tonight. If the Cats keep getting scoring from unexpected places, this team could actually prove to be dangerous if they get healthy. David Booth, Nathan Horton, Cory Stillman, and Richard Zednik are on the road trip, and some or all could return as early as this week. Jay Bouwmeester scored again, and the CPR (Campbell, Peltonen, Radek Dvorak) line chipped in on Nick Boynton's 3rd goal of the year. The more scoring sources, the better.
One thing stuck out to me tonight, amongst many others. When overtime started, the gap in offensive playmakers became glaring. When you give players like Spezza and Heatley open ice, they can change the game in a blink of your eye. The Panthers don't have anyone like that. There isn't a guy that, when he gets the puck and a few feet of ice, makes the crowd hold its breath. You give guys like Jarome Iginla, Crosby, Ovechkin, Heatley, Spezza, or Marion Hossa a couple feet, they can turn the game around. With the Panthers, it's a hard working, grind it out, force turnovers kind of offense that works 5 on 5. When it goes to 4 on 4, they can't keep up. Ottawa should have won tonight in the OT. But they didn't, and I won't complain about that anymore. Don't get me wrong, you don't need guys like that to win. I love the way this team works and earns every chance they get. It's a fun team to watch, and with no big superstars, they'll have to continue to have the same work ethic that's been working over the last couple weeks. Next game is Thursday in Edmonton. Until then...