Fresh off a night that netted them two stolen points from the Flyers, the Florida Panthers simply couldn't muster another victory to extend their win streak to six games. Visiting the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh for the second game of the back-to-back, the Panthers hit the ice like it was molasses while the rested Hurricanes walked all over them to grab their first win in the season series, doing so avoided the sweep at the RBC Center. By all accounts, Florida never had a dog in the race despite cutting the Carolina lead to one in the second period, and by the start of the penalty filled third period the boys in red had mailed in their victory. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fun, but it was an acceptable loss when you look at the big picture.
And so the longest Panthers winning streak in four years met its demise at the hands of Eric Staal and Joni Pitkanen. It was a good run, perhaps good enough to secure the division as the Cats move on to greener pastures and weaker opponents. The Panthers return home for a quick two game stint, which by the bar the Panthers just set and head coach Kevin Dineen will hold them to, should be the makings of another winning streak as the end of the season draws near.
-00:46 Eric Staal(22) unassisted
-08:14 Staal(23) PPG assists to Pitkanen and Jiri Tlusty
- So, Florida sure likes to sleep through first periods, maybe its the whole 'Comeback Cats' excitement factor. This time it would be Eric Staal potting one for the early lead, banking a shot from the corner past Jose Theodore.
- Not that Randy Red Deer Moller has had plenty of games to learn how to pronounce Scottie Upshall's name, but you'd think with 10 games left in the season he'd figure out there isn't a Scottie Upshaw on the roster. Then there's that Kewleekof guy Chuck Kaiton keeps going on and on about.
- Wojtek Wolski, Shawn Matthias, Keaton Ellerby and Krys Barch would all be healthy scratches as the aforementioned Upshall would make his way back into the lineup, along with Jerred Smithson and Mike Santorelli. Quite a surplus of bodies, at least injuries shouldn't be a big problem for the rest of the year.
- Florida definitely wasn't looking too sharp during the first period, probably a combination of tired bodies from the Philly game the night before and the absence of quick skaters Wolski and Matthias, heck even Barch creates his fair share of chances nowadays. The Panthers would escape the period so to speak, after the lackluster effort put on by the Cats; a one goal hole seemed pretty fortunate.
- The first period would be a penalty filled one, with Florida accounting for two majors and Carolina with three. A rare sighting at RBC center as Brian Campbell took just his fourth minor of the season. Let's put that in perspective; for every minute Campbell sits in the box, Sean Bergenheim sits 5:45. Or look at it this way, Campbell takes .055 penalties per game played, Bergenheim takes .44 penalties. Yes, I'm still talking about that.
- Over the last two seasons, Carolina netminder Cam Ward has played in 135 of 155 games. Half man, half machine.
- According to Randy, its pronounced "RamSteen". Marco and Marcel are not proud.
- The Panthers would catch a bit of a break as Patrick Dwyer would send a wrap-around attempt right along the goal line and underneath Jose Theodore, call on the ice was no goal. After taking a few overhead looks, the officials again concluded the puck never crossed the line, but boy it was close.
- No matter though, just a shift or two later after the close call Joni Pitkanen would send a shot over the shoulder of Theodore in his first game back after missing quite a bit of time due to injury.
- To respond to the 2-0 deficit, Tomas Fleischmann would net himself a goal after Ward juggled Ed Jovanovski's point shot and in the ensuing scramble, Flash bounced the puck off a Carolina defender and into the net.
- Staal would score again on the powerplay with Smithson in the box, setting up the Canes with a 3-1 lead with 12 minutes left in the period.
- I hate Jeff Skinner. Three separate minors for that little punk. He even missed an open net as Dineen pulled Theodore. Punk.
Chris' First Star: Randy Moller and Chuck Kaiton for keeping me entertained over the course of a very slow night in Raleigh.
Chris' Worst Star: Everyone in white tonight not named Theodore. Can't win too many games when you turn over the puck every other shift. And when you take 15 penalties.
Up Next: If it feels like it's been forever since the Panthers last played the Edmonton Oilers, you're right. Florida met the Oilers last on October 10th 2010, the season opener for the Cats. That was Taylor Hall's second game in his NHL career, and he'd get his fist NHL point on a (kicked!) Horcoff game winner. Since that game, by my unofficial count Hall has been injured exactly 12 times since. Marty Reasoner had two goals and Steve Bernier had two assists in that game. Yeah, nostalgia. Oilers at Panthers, Friday at 7:30.