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Cats Win...

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...the first period of Wednesday's game in Sunrise against the visiting Stars.

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Patrons at the BankAtlantic Center box office following the final horn.


Final - 1.21.2009 1 2 3 Total
Dallas Stars 0 2 2 4
Florida Panthers 1 0 0 1

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The remainder of the evening, however, had Panther fans scratching their bloody collective heads, wondering where the home team went. They certainly weren't on the ice at the BAC.

Dallas forward Mike Ribeiro - a nine-year league veteran - had the first hat trick of his career, allowing Marty Turco's 27 saves to seal the win for the up-and-down Stars. Tomas Vokoun stopped 21.

"We went on vacation a little early there."

- Florida defenseman Keith Ballard

Full kudos to Dallas bench boss Dave Tippett for a Vince Lombardi-style wholesale philosophical attitude adjustment. He coached two separate clubs: the rubbery Dallas Stars in the first period, and the steely DALLAS STARS for the rest of the night in a game punctuated by several fights.


Cory Stillman took exception to Matt Niskanen's shove to his head, and in no time the two were swinging. Stillman decided the match with a sweet connection.

For the ultimately defeated Cats, defenseman Karlis Skrastins scored a marvelous goal on a partial break in the first frame. It was Skras' third of the year; unfortunately it was the final score of the evening for Florida, who, in all honesty, were fast, mobile, and man-to-man covering their assignments well. Just didn't get the breaks during this one.

"They did to us what we wanted to do to them for most of the game."

- Panthers center Stephen Weiss

And therein lies the scary part: they can dish out the fast-paced, high-octane firewagon-style offense, but can't respond to it in kind. Once the rest of the league learns this the Cats are cooked.

DIVISIONALLY SPEAKING


Southeast Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Washington 48 30 15 3 63
Carolina 48 23 20 5 51
Florida 46 21 17 8 50
Tampa Bay 47 16 21 10 42
Atlanta 48 17 26 5 39

(updated 1.22.2009 at 9:17 AM EST)


What you see above is where the standings will remain until Tuesday. Around the division last night:

  • Host Philadelphia surprised exactly no one in beating Atlanta 5-3. Mike Knuble scored twice, while the victory cemented Antero Niittymaki's status as Thrasher-thrasher; he is now 12-0 lifetime against Don Waddell's fantasy team.
  • We got our wish, as the Lightning downed the visiting Sabres 5-3. Cory Murphy had a goal and an assist; Lukas Krajicek scored a goal. Who are these guys?

And here we are against the All Star break. Anyone actually gonna watch it? Anyone?

LITTER BOX LINERS

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THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE