Points aplenty by the end of this one: Stephen Weiss (career-high 4 points), Michael Frolik (3), and Nathan Horton (2 goals) led the Florida offense over a confused and mentally battered Flyers club which displayed neither a semblance of confidence nor a peek at the realistic talent which is being paid top dollar.
Yes, the game got physical, as
hoped for expected: Gregory Campbell and Ian Laperriere with fighting majors just 1:48 in, captains Bryan McCabe and Mike Richards at 3:42, and Mike Duco taking on a rather spry Laperriere at 13:26. Of the first period.
It settled down, however, as both teams gained - or lost - their legs in front of 19,323 paying patrons: a two-goal Florida lead going into the third frame was expanded upon (rather quickly) as the Cats banged in another duo within the opening six minutes.
Bottom Line: Panthers kept cool, resilient, and open to adjustment (rumors say that's what winning teams do) on a strange, bizarre evening. So much was expected: defending the honor of
Charlestown Sunrise is never a short order, but this bunch made it look good (Laperriere's 30 minutes in penalties didn't hurt, yet keep in mind Dennis Seidenberg burned 17 of his own on a terrific night with 22:08, 1 assist, and a +1). Coach Pete DeBoer - again - kept his troops on-topic during what might have degenerated into bedlam with the entire league watching. Left Wachovia with the win, a healthy roster, and heretofore unbeknownst confidence...a combination hardly believable just days ago.
For the curious: Steve MacIntyre, understandably expected to log a healthy block of time, clocked 2 minutes on the ice (1 shot). Mike Duco got the lion's share of attention, logging 6:29 (5 pim) while garnering a boatload of money shots via Fox Sports Florida. Bryan Allen was a sparkplug as well (4 pim, 3 shots, 20:12 TOI).
Notes: Florida scored three power play goals. Philadelphia netminder Brian Boucher (hand injury) was yanked after allowing two goals on 13 shots; recent Carolina castoff Michael Leighton replaced him, stopping 15 of 17. Final SOG: PHI over FLA 31-30. McCabe, Allen, Seidenberg, and Duco all had at least 4 pim for the Cats, while Laperierre, Mike Richards ('member him?), and Danny Briere did the same for the Flyers.
Next up: Rangers on Wednesday.