Recap: Florida Panthers take down Minnesota Wild in shootout

Joel Auerbach

The Cats finish off a close game with their first shootout win of the season.

Saturday night featured as close a game as one would expect from a meeting of two teams who don't score a lot of goals. The teams came into this game tied for eighth least goals in the league and they each increased their total by one. The Panthers won the game by scoring two goals in the shootout, while Tim Thomas stopped the only two shots he faced. Both regulation goals were scored on the power play.

It was a weak crowd for a Saturday night, and there were some rumblings that the Panthers' Equality Night, promoted with the You Can Play Project was to blame. While that might have kept a few reactionary fans home, the Minnesota Wild are not normally a big draw, and the schedule makers didn't do the Panthers any favors scheduling this game on a Saturday. I guarantee the Panthers would have preferred Tuesday's game against the Blackhawks was swapped with this one. My own thoughts on Equality Night are that while I've certainly had my disagreements with some of the things that management has done, the Panthers being the first team in the league to do this makes me proud to be a Panthers fan. Maybe even as much as tonight's win does.
  • The Panthers got the first power play of the night and couldn't get anything going. Brodziak hooked Versteeg and the Panthers got organized on the brief 5-on-3, but then took a penalty and negated the power play. The Panthers have to be better on the power play if they want to win games.
  • The first period had a good pace, but the Panthers just couldn't cash in on the opportunities they had.
  • The Panthers got outworked early in the second leading to both a Wild power play and power play goal. This team isn't good enough to take shifts off. There's something wrong on a fundamental level if the team is being outworked.
  • The Panthers finally cashed in on a power play in the third. That it took so long for them to get it together on the power play is not a good sign. Especially since it was the first one they looked together on.
  • Once the Panthers seemed to get it together, the refs gifted the Wild a 5-on-3 after making a weak call on Brian Campbell while the Cats were on the kill. Luckily, the Panthers are still good on the penalty kill and managed to keep the fourth-best Wild power play from scoring.
  • Too many Panthers were not a factor in the game tonight. Barkov and Huberdeau had more going on than a lot of the veterans.
  • The Panthers were good in the faceoff cricle, against the league's best team.
  • Thomas is a competitor. Yes, he started off the season a little rusty and was one of the players to blame on the Bruins' game winner a few days ago. But he fights hard and doesn't give up.
  • The Panthers are having that finishing problem again. They're getting good chances, like the Versteeg breakaway in the first, and they're not burying them.
  • While I freely admit to not having looked at their numbers so far, from only watching the games I hope it's Gilbert and not Gilroy sitting when Jovo comes back. He's looked good out there.
  • Boyes has been a solid pickup for the Cats. He's looked good in every game I've seen so far this season. For the record, I wrote this before he put a nice one past Harding to seal the shootout win.
    Check out what the opposition has to say at Hockey Wilderness. The Cats continue their homestand Tuesday; LBC's GameThread goes live at 7 p.m. ET.
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