Thursday, March 26, 2009

End Of Season Put On Hold...

Disaster avoided. Hope maintained. Inevitable delayed? The Panthers fought their way to a 4-2 win tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. But boy, was it huge. The Flyers came back from 1-0 and 2-1 defecits to keep the Panthers on edge until David Booth's empty netter sealed the deal.

Cory Stillman started the scoring, (on the powerplay!) skillfully deflecting a Jay Bouwmeester shot past Martin Biron. Jeff Carter answered for the Flyers, beating Craig Anderson on a 2 on 1. Just 23 seconds later, Keith Ballard and Radek Dvorak found a 2 on 1 of their own, and Dvorak was able to slam home an easy rebound. But with just 3 seconds left in the 2nd period, Jeff Carter found Scott Hartnell open in the slot, and the man of the night scored to send it to the 3rd period tied at 2. The 3rd period belonged to the Cats. Brett McLean scored the game winner on a rebound, and David Booth capped the night off.

Enough cannot be said about Craig Anderson's play tonight. Just days ago, coach Pete DeBoer told his goaltenders that it would be Tomas Vokoun in net for the rest of the season. Then last night happened, and DeBoer had a change of mind. Or rather, Vokoun forced PDeB to change his mind. In came Anderson for his first start since March 1st. 40 saves later, and Andy came away with the W. Many of those saves were not easy, either. Stops came at key times. Rebounds were controlled. Calmness maintained. Thank you, Mr. Anderson.

Unfortunately, despite Montreal's attempts to lose tonight to the Lightning, the Habs were able to take 2 points and keep their 2 point cushion over Florida. It hurts, but the Panthers put themselves in this position, needing help from other teams, but that's the way it is. Both teams are off until Saturday. Montreal has played 1 fewer game than Florida.

A solid game from the Panthers tonight, fighting through the same kind of battles that has derailed this team over the past few weeks. It's a good night, but there's no time to dance. The Cats are still in 9th, still 2 points back, and still have 7 games to go. If Florida doesn't win their own games, Montreal's actions won't matter anyway.

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