Sunday, April 5, 2009
Awesome. Great. Super. Got that all out of your system? Good, because the Panthers big 4-2 over the Penguins is so 2 hours ago. Hopefully, the Panthers can enjoy tonight, and forget about it tomorrow.
It's now a best of 3 game season between the Panthers and the New York Rangers. Both sit with 89 points and 3 games remaining. Let the playoffs begin.
Today's game against the Penguins was good on so many levels. Scoring from unusual suspects (Olesz and Peltonen) as well as the top guys (Booth and McCabe). A power play goal. A 3rd period lead held. The Penguins 2nd goal three weeks ago was a sign of an impending collapse. Today, it seemed to give the Panthers one more rush of energy.
There were negatives, as there usually are. The Cats gave up 43 shots. But after being outshot 19-7 in the 1st period, the Panthers gave up only 24 in the final 2 periods. Tomas Vokoun looked a little rusty, to be sure. The 2nd goal wasn't a good one to give up, but today, his teammates played well enough (and scored enough) to back T Vo up. Malkin and Crosby were relatively maintained, and no one controlled them more so then Keith Ballard, who delivered a beautiful hip check to Evgeni Malkin and then fought Sydney Crosby. That got the crowd going, the Panthers fed off the energy, and never looked back.
Take the positives from today's game and remember them. You can't afford to get too high after a win like today. There are still 3 games left. There is zero margin for error. The Panthers' can't afford to worry about what the Rangers are doing. They can only control their own game, the next one coming on Tuesday in Philadelphia. As big as today's win was, the next game is just that much more important. Until next time...