Thursday, March 12, 2009

Panthers 1 - Sabres 3

Don't look now, Panther fans, but once again, we are on the outside looking in. After tonight's loss to Buffalo, along with other NHL action, Florida now sits 9th in the east.

And wouldn't you know it, Florida finds themselves outside of the playoff picture the night after one of their better efforts in recent memory. Just to show you what a crazy, mixed up world we live in; Florida earned a point in a shoot out loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, being outshot 50-21. Tonight, the Cats lost 3-1, yet looked faster, quicker, and stronger then they have in weeks. Florida held Buffalo to just 23 shots. Their reward? 0 points and 9th place.

Let's be honest. There will be games where you get a win but didn't deserve it, there will be nights when you deserved the W, but lose. Sure, Tomas Vokoun probably should have stopped that 2nd goal. But he had no right making that save on Vanek later in the 2nd period. And yea, that 3rd, coffin sealing goal in the 3rd was incredibly unlucky. But Florida had a 5 on 3 for over a minute early in the 3rd and didn't score. The power play actually looked OK tonight, controlled the puck, had a few chances, just nothing to show for it. Them's the breaks, kid.

Speaking of kids... Michael Repik may just play himself into a roster spot. He was flying, shooting first, asking questions later. He scored the lone Panthers goal. He threw his body around. I think I like him on our team. And to be fair, everyone looked 2 steps quicker tonight then on Tuesday. Zednik was all over the ice. The CPR line probably should have had a couple goals tonight. It was a solid effort, just a bad result. It happens.

Florida played well enough to win tonight. If they play more games like this one down the stretch, they should be OK. Then again, they did lose tonight... so who knows. The only thing I know for sure is that there are 14 games left for the Panthers to claim a spot in the postseason. The biggest of those 14 is the next one. The Cats return home for a 5-game homestand, starting with a
"must, must, must win" Saturday night against the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning.

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