...the first period of Wednesday's game in Sunrise against the visiting Stars.
Patrons at the BankAtlantic Center box office following the final horn.
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.
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
Sun-Sentinel: Sizzle and fizzle
Miami Herald: Panthers miss opportunity
The Record: DeBoer's surprising Panthers
AP via NHL.com: game recap/stats/video
THE FAR REACHES OF THE BLOGOSPHERE