Friday, February 27, 2009
Panthers 2 - Rangers 1
Apologies for the lateness of these post-game thoughts. I'll just attribute it to technical difficulties...
I'm not sure words can explain how giant of a win that was last night for the Panthers. Trailing 1-0 going into the 3rd period, Florida came out and dominated the final period. David Booth and Nathan Horton scored just a minute apart to claim the 2 points for the good guys. Great to see those 2 get back on the score sheet. There has been somewhat of an offensive drought lately, and the top line scorers need to get back on track.
Craig Anderson redeemed himself. After a poor outing in Boston two nights ago, Andy was called on again after Vokoun was not able to recover from his illness(es) in time. 40 saves and a W later, Andy appears to have his confidence back, and also a little bit of mine. Having a backup that you can put in the net with no fear of a letdown is huge, especially in these playoff push times.
The 5 on 3 penalty kill early in the 3rd period was huge. If you don't think that was the first step in winning this game... A 2-0 lead early in the period like that is devastating. A big PK is what they got, and the confidence gained took them to the finish line.
With last night's action, the race for the playoffs is now tighter then ever. The Panthers and Rangers are tied for 6th in the east, one point behind 5th seed Montreal. The Sabres and 'Canes are now tied for the 8th and final spot, after skating to a Carolina shoot out victory last night. So the difference between the 5th seed and being out of the playoffs is 2 points. 1 game.
The Panthers now head across the river and take on the New Jersey Devils tomorrow afternoon. Martin Brodeur made his return last night, and only posted a shut out. It's another "bring-your-A-game-or-don't-bother-showing-up" kind of matchup. New Jersey leads the Atlantic division and is 3rd in the east. Until tomorrow...