Fear not: guy in the middle got nuthin'.
Florida was out-played, out-coached, and out-classed in Boston on Wednesday, though fortunately not at all lacking in effort on any of those fronts against a Bruins squad which grabbed for the throat from the opening faceoff. In the end Boston gets the four-game season sweep but in a year like this...so what.
The Panthers - with major props to the efforts of Tomas Vokoun and his 33 saves, only hours removed from a 4-3 regulation victory in New York - kept the game remarkably within reach all night. Ultimately, Tim Thomas was just a tad better, stopping 34 shots. Short story even shorter? Brad Marchand scored mid-way through the first frame, leading to Milan Lucic's 20th goal of the season:
As has been typical of late, Florida kept it close - and believable, based upon their play - with 8:37 left in the third, as Bryan Allen took matters into his own hands, taking advantage of a very rare Thomas gaffe:
That brought the score to 2-1, which is where it would remain. All Star Game weekend approaches, which is probably the best thing for center Shawn Matthias, who slid into the far boards knee-first and left the game. Wasn't pretty.
Quickly: Nathan Horton finished with zero points, +1, and 2 SOG. As well, Gregory Campbell had no points, an even rating, and 1 shot. Both clubs ended 0-1 on the PP. 2010 postseason points-leader ranking notwithstanding, ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman (-1) was booed mercilessly throughout the night; his 5 SOG led all skaters. Darcy Hordichuk checked out with an amazingly effective 9:57 TOI (no PIM). FLA assists: Radek Dvorak and Hordichuk; seriously...check it out for yourself.
More from Stanley Cup of Chowder here. Next up: Cats at Leafs on Tuesday evening.