Lots of things are going right for the Florida Panthers right now. Over the last few years the Panthers have rotated scoring issues, defensive meltdowns and goaltending problems but somehow they've patched up every hole in a slowly sinking ship to improve their standing and even build a five-game winning streak. The Panthers didn't look flawless tonight by any means, but they broke a two-all tie late on the power play, and iced the game on Kopecky's shortie 51 seconds later.
- I think it's time to rip the interim tag off of Horachek's title. Dale Tallon can barely find the cookie jar, let alone a coach who's really going to do better than Horachek is doing.
- For being a career -27, Bill Lindsay sure likes to point out how having a negative plus/minus is directly related to being a defensive liability. Alex Ovechkin and Jason Spezza are not defensive liabilities, they play first-line minutes and put up power-play points which don't factor into plus/minus.
- Ottawa is playing against Vancouver in the Heritage Classic this year but with four other outdoor games taking place before it, is anyone even going to care? The NHL sure knows how to water down what was a special event by turning it into a novelty (Dodger Stadium??). If the NHL is trying to compete with the Olympics for a wow factor, they're going to lose every time.
- With Ottawa's power-play goal late in the first period, the Panthers would trail in a game for the first time since the Detroit tilt on the 10th. That's pretty impressive for a team that was losing leads at every opportunity just a few months ago.
Tim Thomas seems to be close to returning, but with Clemmensen playing well I don't see any reason to rush Timmy back into playing another 15 consecutive games so soon. If the Panthers are for real in their playoff push, they're going to need Thomas in net and not on the IR.
Jonathan Huberdeau has played the equivalent of a full rookie season with 82 games under his belt, and 46 points later things seem to be on track for him. Whether his 82 games would still be Calder worthy at this point will never be known, but there aren't many young players who have matched or exceeded his impact on their teams. Huberdeau looked very confident tonight.
- I've never seen so many needless fancy passes in front of the net before I watched the Senators in their own zone tonight.
- Silver Seven. That's where they talk about Ottawa and the likes.
Next up: The Panthers play one last game on their Oh Canada road trip with a game against the Winnipeg Jets, Friday at 8.