Florida may have finally squeezed some goals out of Scottie Upshall and forced a comeback late in the third, but eventually the luck is going to run out. For the amount of trouble the Panthers had with the 29th placed Edmonton Oilers, one point is a great outcome for this team. It's kind of incredible that teams haven't learned how to close the Panthers out of games, as again and again we've seen the opposition mail in their victories at the start of the third period and give the Panthers chances to win games. It's not that the Panthers are sneaky, or good, or resilient. Other teams are just playing to lose until overtime forces them to wake up again.
Tonight Edmonton cashed in on goals from unlikely sources, Arcobello, Fedun and Larsen. Arcobello scored his first two goals of the season, while Fedun scored his first goal in his first game. Both were AHLers last year. Fedun and Larsen scored pretty goals on the rush, despite being defensemen. A few assists were sprinkled in for the Oiler's top offensive players, but for the most part they took the night off. Florida got two late goals from Upshall and one from Goc...again, the top offensive players took a night off. I haven't watched Edmonton play much this year, but they sure didn't look like they were competing with the Panthers for the win, and Florida sure didn't look motivated either. These were just two basement teams stumbling through a game which held little significance for either. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
- I've missed the last few Panthers games, but seeing reactions after getting shutout again by the Blues and then losing to the Capitals, it doesn't sound like much has changed. I think what made me laugh the most was that people claimed that "Dineen got his message across" in another shootout loss. Really? I'm willing to bet that Dineen hasn't gotten his message across since that playoff series that seems so distant these days, and if he miraculously gets his message across these days it's not going to result in a shootout loss the next day.
- Suddenly Matt Gilroy has found himself back in the pressbox, and this should raise some questions. Remember when Boyes almost sat and came back with the game tying goal and another in the shootout? That thankfully unrealized roster move resulted in one of the Panthers' three wins. Boyes wasn't deserving of a benching, and neither is Gilroy. If Whitney forced himself back into the lineup take out Gilbert or Gudbranson, but stop benching whoever whenever just because you feel like it.
- Goc scored a nice goal to open the scoring thanks to a setup by Hubs and Flash, allowing Goc to walk in and snipe his fourth goal of the season. Goc is on pace for his first 20 goal campaign and a full 82 game season, you pick which is more surprising.
Taylor Fedun saw his first NHL minutes in this game, a remarkable comeback after suffering a horrific injury in an exhibition game a few years back when he collided full speed into the boards on an icing call. If you wonder why hybrid icing was adopted this year, he was a big part of the reason.
- If you ever wondered what the Panthers might look like a few years down the road with a couple more high caliber draft picks under their belt, you better hope they don't look like the Edmonton Oilers.
- Edmonton scored a pretty goal 12 seconds into 4-on-4 when RNH found some dude named Philip Larsen to tie the game. It wasn't all bad, Kris Versteeg actually recognized something called the defensive zone and covered for Gilbert who was off in no-man's land. Baby steps everyone.
Mark Arcobello and Fedun would both score their first NHL goals in the second period. Maybe the standings don't reflect it, but with losses to Buffalo, Philadelphia and Edmonton, can you really argue that Florida isn't the true #30?
- Florida is just unspeakably bad in every area of the game. A tip of the hat to the people who are actually paying money to watch this team.
- Scottie Upshall SCORED TWO GOALS, give him an extension!
- Go to The Copper & Blue just because.
After the conclusion of this game, Florida heads out on a stretch that will test them with 8 of the next 9 games being played on the road from ocean to ocean. The fun begins at TD Gawwwden in Boston where the Cats will take on the Bruins, Thursday at 7.