Just to get this out of the way: I love the strategy of attempting to sell seats, via the PA system, to the next game mere seconds after the home club just lost in regulation. Like "Surely we'll head to the nearest box office to secure a row in the 100s immediately after the Panthers' offense petered out at the close of one period," will be a rallying cry throughout the BankAtlantic Center tonight. Ok, done.
Right to the end, it was the Dominic Moore Show for Florida. One goal, two minor penalties, five shots on net, and a whole lot of hustle kept the Cats forward firmly onscreen all night. It was his best game as a member of the club; unfortunately, no one showed up to give him a hand after a terrific period by Florida in all three zones.
Radek Dvorak and Jordan Leopold assisted on the lone Moore goal. They were also the only three Panthers to finish with a plus-1.
Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, and Michael Frolik - the vaunted first line - combined for zero points, 5 shots, and a minus-3 rating.
No one looked bad, per se, as Boston gained momentum going into the second...momentum acquired of their own doing.
Michael Ryder and Marco Sturm scored for Boston while Tim Thomas made 25 saves. Scott Clemmensen - a surprise starter given the next game is not until Thursday - stopped 26, and appeared comfortable and loose from the opening faceoff. Tomas Vokoun likely could not have changed the outcome of this one.
Florida won 28 faceoffs...ten more than their opponent in a losing effort. I don't need to travel that road quite yet.
Another case of too-much, too-soon? No matter: dissect it any way you wish, the end result is another losing streak, and the question of when management will address the win-two-lose-two culture rears its head once more.
Next up: Jacques Martin Appreciation Night on New Years Eve.