One look at shots-on-goal per-period tells the tale of this one:
- First: 15-7, FLA
- Second: 19-2, ATL
- Third: 17-9, FLA
- OT: 1-0, ATL
And there it is. Sadly tonight's goat is rookie defenseman Keaton Ellerby (2 SOG, -1, 25 shifts/17:51 TOI), whose missed check on a streaking Dustin Byfuglien up the right boards directly led to Andrew Ladd's GW in the overtime session. Pick up the pieces and move on, kid. Otherwise the Cats were highly effective in dominating their offensive zone, minus the middle period.
A chink in their collective armor was undoubtedly the circus-like behavior of Atlanta forward Chris Thorburn, he of the David Booth boarding call (nothing more despite Booth's face having to be peeled from the glass) and a blatant cross-check to Jason Garrison...the latter resulting in a Garrison four-minute penalty for a high stick (for what it's worth the contact was accidental, as all replays attest; stick popped Thorburn in the face due to nothing more than momentum, evidently cutting his mouth internally on his own teeth). Whatever; I might just be biased so we'll leave it at that.
Regarding the Thorburn-on-Booth hit: where was the response from teammates? With Darcy Hordichuk on the bench, not a soul stepped up. Hello, league: continue having your way with Florida, since retribution - or even the perceived notion of physicality to prevent such a hit - remains off the table. Who's strategy is that, anyway?
Notes: Power plays: FLA 4-1, ATL 5-1. Faceoffs were a key component of the Panthers' efforts on Saturday, winning 57%; season average is now up to 52% thanks in large part to Scott Timmins' 6-1 record aganst the Thrashers. Former Cat Radek Dvorak had no points, 2 SOG. Marty Reasoner led FLA with 5 shots; Byfuglien finished with 9. ATL scorers: Blake Wheeler (2), Ladd (2). FLA scorers: Sergei Samsonov (1a), Stephen Weiss (1a), Booth. Tomas Vokoun stopped 32 shots, while Chris Mason was 31-for-34. More from Bird Watchers Anonymous here.
Next up: Capitals visit Sunrise today; Live Game Thread at 4:30.