The story was a dark one, but if any positives can be taken from the wreckage (of a so-what preseason loss), this was - with all due respect to Tampa Bay's Mike Smith - Tomas Vokoun's night.
Tvo halted 40 - yes, forty - shots while his offensive partners were limited to just one goal behind 30 attempts; as irony would have it, that goal came from...drum roll...a defenseman. Second-year blueliner Jason Garrison
tied the score with 5:25 remaining in regulation to make it A Game, though with several missed chances in overtime the Panthers found themselves permanently behind the eight-ball after Tampa's Mike Lundin buried the winner on a 3-on-3 situation in the extra period.
Lightning netminder Mike Smith - in his exhibition premiere - stopped 29 shots. Winger Simon Gagne opened the scoring in the second frame. Guess he's healthy.
Quick take: The game was broadcast via (Tampa Bay's) radio feed, so making a judgment on individual players would be frightfully unjust. The numbers don't lie, however, leaving the taste of a one-goal, out-shot game as something relatively, um, very familiar to longtime observers of the Cats. Florida spent a large portion of the evening killing penalties - which opens yet another can of proverbial worms. Our brethren at Raw Charge have been on the case as well, so take a peek at their synopsis.
On to the final preseason game...Florida will be hosted by these very same Bolts Saturday night, and we'll be all over it with a Live Chat at 7pm. Be forewarned: it's been a long while since we've done one of these...call it a "dry run" before the season opener in Edmonton (and every single Cats game to follow) so we'll make no promises about the direction it may travel. We do have three seasons of practice behind us, so give it a whirl. OFP will be live as well, and we'll post up links for everything closer to gametime.