Saturday, February 7, 2009

Panthers 1 - Capitals 3

I liked doing my bullet point thoughts so much last time, I think I'll keep doing it.

-Florida lost, 3-1, to Washington. The 3rd goal was an empty netter, so Florida had a chance to steal at least a point up until the final minute, but no such luck.

-Tomas Vokoun was pulled with just under 2 minutes left (somewhere near the 1:56 mark I think). Florida was already on the PP, Washington could ice it at the empty net for free. For me, 6 on 4 just means an empty net for the other guys to take shots at with no fear of repercussions. At least wait until a minute left or so, right? I wasn't a big fan of DeBoer's decision to pull him so early, and it ended up costing the Panthers a legitimate shot at tying the game. Then again, he's an NHL coach, I'm not. Had they scored, I would have been praising his guts and wisdom to pull Vokoun that early.

-Special teams were the difference. Washington went 1 for 4 on the power play, but probably could have gone 4 for 4. Florida, on the other hand, went 0 for 4, despite having a 5 on 3 for a full minute AND a power play for the entire final 5 minutes of the game.

-Cats were outshot 39-21. By period; 15-7, 11-9, 13-5. In the final period, with Florida trailing by 1, with 5 consecutive minutes of power play time, only 5 shots got through. Maybe Florida thinks they're better then they are? They've been in 8th for more than 24 hours, maybe it got into their heads. It looked like there were far too many attempts at high skill, high risk, fancy, pretty, European style passes going on out there. Down by a goal, even on the power play, you have to get pucks to the net. This isn't a team with a lot of individual talent. "Ugly goals" will get this team far.

-As Florida begins to play tougher teams, they're going to have to get scoring from up front. Tonight's lone goal came from Keith Ballard, a defenseman. Goals from blue liners are supposed to be a bonus, a nice addition to a balanced team. Florida is unbalanced in the wrong way. The D-men are scoring much more then the forwards lately. The play behind the net and the cylcing system and the point shots are all working great, there just has to be that guy in front of the net who finishes the hard work. Horton, Peltonen, Zednik, Stillman, Weiss... they need to pick it up if this postseason dream is to continue. Frolik has become completely irrelevant since his All-Star weekend in Montreal.

-Cats get a couple days off before they host Toronto on Tuesday. I'm putting the first "must-win" stamp of the year on this one. It's the last time Florida will play a team below them in the standings for 3 full weeks (Carolina is in there, but they may or may not be below Florida when they meet). For confidence points alone, Florida must win Tuesday. Until next time...

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