Who were those men in white jerseys? And why don't they show up more often?
The Panthers found their A-game today and took it to the division leading Capitals. I'm still a bit under the weather, so I'm gonna try to keep it brief.
3 for 3 on the power play in the first period. Where did that come from? This team's PP over the last couple weeks was horrendous. Today, there was movement, quick passes, quick shots, less thinking and more doing. How this team can completely turn things around overnight astounds me. This wasn't the first time.
Something I did notice. It looked like the Capitals were keeping their wingers closer to our point men when the Panthers were in the attacking zone, which led to more room in the middle of the zone. In past games, all the defenders were collapsing around the net, not allowing any passes or chances to come from the slot. Today, there were ample opportunities in the high percentage areas, and finally, Florida capitalized on them.
Huge plus that Craig Anderson was able to come in, during one of the toughest weeks of the season, and post a 2-1-0 record. He wasn't always at his best, but knowing you have a backup that can fill in is a huge boost of confidence. That said, I hope Vokoun gets healthy soon.
On the negative, someone has to figure out how to get this team fired up before the puck drops. 3 or 4 games in a row now, the opposition has jumped out to a very early 1-0 lead. It's fine and dandy that Florida has shown no problems coming back, but it's driving me crazy.
Somehow, some way, the Panthers managed to go 4-4-0 against the best in the league. 2 games against the #1 Bruins, #2 Capitals, #3 Devils, and the #6 Rangers each. Florida had a couple of horrible outings (6-1 and 7-2 losses), but each time bounced back the next game and got a solid W. The danger now is looking back and saying, "We did it." You have to continue to look forward. The next 5 games are just as important, if not more so, then the last 5. Atlanta has been playing well lately. 2 games against a Pittsburgh team that will be desperate to get 2 points against a team they are chasing. St. Louis is in a playoff chase of their own. And then a crucial road meeting with Buffalo. Time to dig in.
March 4th is just around the corner. Who will be here March 5th? Bouwmeester? Ballard? A new scoring threat? Pressure is growing...