Cats blow a third-period lead - against the Lightning - and end the day (heck, the week) pointless. Guess I shouldn't leave town again. Ever.
First off, big thanks to DolPhanDave and his second-to-none effort at keeping the site alive over the past week; having been away for my brother's wedding (which was phenomenal, BTW) I had zero opportunities to check in and do the necessary stuff. DpD was all over it and I couldn't be more thankful.
With that behind us, here's what I returned to:
Niittymaki did indeed get an assist on that winning goal, for what it's worth. Maybe now we can testify to having Seen Stamkos. And if you simply have to grab for something, Vinny Lecavalier (2a) finished with a minus-1 - the only Bolt without an even or positive rating. Yipee-freakin'-yippers.
What's the deal? It's not like this was one of those 20-shot deficits the Panthers so routinely find themselves facing. In fact, Florida outshot the home club (33-32), and even opened the scoring with a shortie from Radek Dvorak in the first. Nathan Horton's PP marker in the second should have been enough for Tomas Vokoun to carry through the third. It wasn't.
Some numbers that stick out: David Booth's game-leading seven SOG (-1). Cory Stillman's zero SOG. Shawn Matthias' 2:28 of ice time - total. Announced attendance: 14,126 (No. Way.).
Quote of the night:
"The first two periods I don't think we played Tampa Bay hockey. A little bit too much river boat gambling and trading chances for chances."
- Lightning coach Rick Tocchet, who knows a thing or two about gambling
So, what's next next? Good stuff ahead, as the Cats face Chris Pronger and the Flyers on Friday at home. No challenge there.
The Panthers currently sit in 14th spot in the conference with a 1-4 record (the irony being the only victory was a shootout win...go figure). Too early to call for heads on platters? And which heads would those be?