According to the wonderfully awesome SportsClubStats.com, Florida had a 6.3% chance of making the postseason entering this game.
Now? Not so much.
A quick disclaimer: there will be no angry tirade from my end of the ice; had to work through most of the game which does not afford me the "right" to bash what I did not see. Heard a good portion of it but couldn't watch. Feel free to have at it in the comments, however.
On his first night back from injury, new Cat Byron Bitz scored a goal, winding up as the third star of the night. Kamil Kreps and Gregory Campbell assisted. And there you have it from a Florida perspective.
Well, other than Tomas Vokoun getting yanked after allowing two pucks behind him after 19 shots early in the second. Yeah, SOG has become a problem once more. Scott Clemmensen - who must certainly be riding high after Glenn Hall-ing it this week with all those relief minutes - filled in admirably, stopping 16 of 17 attempts.
Buffalo's Jochen Hecht, Patrick Kaleta, and Mike Grier (yep...he's still around!) scored for the visitors, with Paul Gaustad and sure-fire Calder Trophy finalist Tyler Myers each picking up dual assists. They played their game.
Final SOG were 36-32 BUF. David Booth led the Panthers with 5, while Bryan McCabe ate 29 minutes of ice time, which not surprisingly paced the game.
Otherwise, I'm really looking forward to seeing the "Den of Honor"; sounds awfully impressive and mighty professional based upon the early reviews. Terrific seeing all the old faces around the BAC, milling about with fans. Conspicuously absent was Lindy Ruff...
Next up: Tampa Bay on Sunday, 5pm start.