Florida backup netminder Scott Clemmensen wasn't perfect, but in earning his first win of the season, he was just good enough to gain a victory for the Cats in Phoenix. In a shootout, no less.
The only regulation scoring came in the second frame by Michael Frolik, followed less than six minutes later by the Coyotes' Martin Hanzal on the power play at 16:04. Beyond those, it was a goaltenders' duel at both ends: Clemmer put the hammer down on 40(!) shots, while Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 36 Florida attempts.
This was one of those games which seemed to be fully equipped to go either way; both clubs had relatively even scoing chances throughout, with neither side providing surplus spark over the other. Bill Lindsay called it early: this would be a one-goal match, and so it was, despite manic bursts of energy by both participants.
Overtime produced a bundle of Florida PP minutes, which resulted, perhaps unsurprisingly, in a shootout. A fifth-round goal by Frolik closed the book on this one, credited every bit to Clemmensen's efforts as well.
Florida still gave up far too many opportunities in their own zone, especially early, as Phoenix made just short of the most of their time in the Panthers' crease. Ugly, scary, and unfortunately characteristic, the Cats were only too hospitable in allowing the 'Yotes room to camp out and move around Clemmer. This "strategy" ultimately worked out, but it wasn't pretty.
Being an outside-the-East matchup, it's easy to forget the loser-point doled out at the end. Make no mistake, the Coyotes did not roll over, nor surrender at any stage. Bryzgalov was in this to win, as were his mates. A hard-fought victory by Florida which easily could have gone the other way. Clemmensen earned this.
Notes: David Booth assisted on the Frolik regulation goal. Mike Santorelli, Radim Vrbata, Scottie Upshall, Stephen Weiss, and Frolik scored in the shootout. Former Panthers forward Ray Whitney had two 2-minute minors called for hooking. Dennis Wideman (27:59) was finally blown out of the water in ice time by PHX's Keith Yandle and Derek Morris; both collected over 30 minutes. Booth led the Panthers with 6 SOG; Phoenix defenseman Yandle had 9(!!!) for the 'Yotes. Former Cat Ed Jovanovski finished the evening with 0 points/0 shots/22:02 TOI. More from our buds at Five For Howling right here.
Next up: "1996 Reunion" featuring Colorado on Tuesday. Live Game Chat at 6:30pm.