Divisional setbacks be damned, the Panthers begin their crawl upward.
Another night in Raleigh, another loss. But the point earned in the overtime period may make a phenomenal difference come February. Lots of power plays - for the home team - and an unusually low-scoring affair led to an action-packed and playoff-like third period.
And admittedly, the Cats started off SLOW. As if a number of they're forwards had been injured for a lengthy period. Bizarre.
However, they made a game of it, after spotting the typical we're-in-Carolina two- or three- power plays in the first frame.
Got to be honest here: In all of the Carolina organization's time in Hartford, I can't recall a single season - let alone game - when the officials predominantly sided with the Whale. Ever. Excuses, excuses, I know.
But it's hard to believe, having been an ardent follower of the club in Hartford, that some crazy KGB-style mandate isn't in effect regarding penalty calls against this bunch since the move to Greensboro/Raleigh. At least when they play Florida.
A doctoral student could break down each and every match between these two clubs and find it most difficult to discern a radical difference in the legalities of strategies utilitzed. Beyond the obvious penalty differentials. There's just something off-kilter.
Oh well. Carolina got their win (on power plays), and Florida got their point (without them).
Long story short: Carolina dominated the first, especially considering the three power plays (scoring on the last). Florida was a little boy lost; trying to figure out where they all fit in, now that the Big Boys were back in town.
The second was a bit more controlled, a bit more even. No real domination by either side.
Third period action picked up the pace, Florida got confident all of a sudden, and we had a game. Back and forth it went...until OT.
My prediction had the Cats prevailing in the extra period, siting an abundance of skill over ego. Alas, ego (read: experience) won out, and the Panthers fell to the Hurricanes 2-1. For the 15th loss of the last 16 in Raleigh. Brutal.
Bottom line: the effort finally arrived, along with the Panthers' "game" - whatever that may be at this stage - and allowed them to climb back in, while a putting a scare in the Hurricanes. They got the point; a point Carolina did not want to give away.
LITTER BOX LINERS
Sun-Sentinel: game recap
Miami Herald: game recap
Raleigh News-Observer: game recap
Yahoo! Sports: game recap
AP via NHL.com: game recap w/video, stats
THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE
- Cat Scratch (FLA)
- Panthers on the Prowl (FLA)
- Canes Country (CAR)
- Red and Black Hockey (CAR) - and congrats on the move to Kukla!
(updated 12.19.2008 at 4:32 AM EST)
- Washington defeated St. Louis, 4-2. Can the Caps be stopped?
- Pittsburgh defeated Atlanta, 6-3. And Don Waddell remains.
- Colorado defeated Tampa Bay 2-1 (SO). Bolts sign Avery yet?
There are no scheduled games among the Southeast teams this evening.
Special Thanks to CLG, DolPhanDave, and mjdivo for joining in the Open Thread!