Flyers vs Panthers coverage Broad Street Hockey
Yet another shorthanded goal by Radek Dvorak allowed Florida to escape with an insanely hard-fought win over a Philadelphia team which outplayed the home club - badly - in the first thirty minutes.
It was ugly: the Cats held the offensive zone time over their opponents by a wide margin over a majority of the first period, but the far larger Flyers stayed in - and ultimately dominating - a large portion of the game, utilizing a breakdown in front of Panthers netminder Scott Clemmensen to take the lead on an Aron Asham goal.
Nathan Horton's redirection in the second tied the game at two, but the big moment came late in the third, as Michael Frolik, on a penalty kill, spun around just inside the offensive zone, leaving the puck for a smoking Dvorak, beating Flyers goaltender Ray Emery for the eventual winner. Steven Reinprecht, fresh from a faceoff, scored his first of the year on an empty net to seal it for the Cats.
Quick notes: Clemmensen had a few slow moments, but otherwise held the fort with confidence. It's obvious he wants to contribute. The same can be said for Dominic Moore, who showed up in a big way, all over the ice. Rostislav Olesz was dominant all night, making the most of his opportunity on the second line. He was hungry. Pete DeBoer showed signs of constipation during the first thirty minutes. Considering the end result, he doesn't like Pepto-Bismal. The defense tightened up considerably in the third. David Booth was everywhere, shooting at anything. Keith Ballard looked great - the night's best defenseman (with Dmitry Kulikov coming in a close second) throwing his body in every direction.
All in all, we witnessed two distinct games tonight; after the first, you'd have been committed for believing the Cats would walk tall with a victory. But they earned it - not on PHI breakdowns - but a collective effort.