With valiant efforts tonight from Jacob Markstrom and TJ Brennan, the Florida Panthers have finally strung together 3 consecutive wins for the first time this year. Whats more? The three wins have all come in a most unusual fashion for the Panthers, they've all been won past the 60 minutes mark. Though it was an up and down game for Florida, who blew a 2 goal lead in the third period and heavily relied on their young goaltender to push his team past regulation, there is a definite sense that the Panthers are improving.
Of course with the trade deadline tomorrow, there shouldn't be any hesitation label the Panthers sellers, though it's doubtful that GM Dale Tallon makes any overly crazy moves. At this point the Panthers are what they are; a team that can spoil must wins but sit too far out of the playoff picture to threaten a substantial resurgence. Though the season is almost over and after the deadline the management will likely look past what will become a lame-duck stretch of games; it's encouraging to see the players string together a few good hockey games.
- Of the numerous forwards the Panthers have called up from the AHL for a temporary stint, I think I like Greg Rallo the best. We saw Rallo for one game last year when a similar crop of injuries surfaced, but this time around he's actually been noticeable, and I don't mean noticeably out of place. Rallo has been the Rampage's top scoring threat, though his defensive positioning has had a bigger impact with the Panthers. It's only a matter of time before he's sent back down, and it will likely be his last NHL stint; but I've enjoyed his time with the Cats and I'm sure he has too. Congrats on his 1st NHL goal, as well.
- Mike Santorelli sure plays hard when he's on waivers. If no one wants to claim him can Dale please waive/recall him for the rest of the season?
- Dale Tallon has already washed his hands of Keaton Ellerby with the addition of TJ Brennan. It took Brennan 8 games to put up as many goals with the Panthers as Keaton Ellerby had through 125. Remember when everyone complained about trading away young talent for a low round pick? Tallon knows what he's doing. EDIT: They gave it to Kopecky, though it never appeared that he touched it. But if the NHL scorekeepers want to increase Kopecky's trade value the night before the deadline, fine by me. EDIT: Brennan actually did end up scoring a goal in the second period. EDIT: AGAIN they changed it, this time it goes to Greg Rallo. King TJames III robbed again.
- Again, Scottie Upshall is playing lights out lately. The clock is ticking.
- I paid special attention to the two players most likely to be moved tomorrow(Goc and Smithson) and I really didn't have much to say. Goc has certainly been one of the better Panthers over the last two years, and Smithson is easily the most consistent player Dineen puts on the ice, come to think of it I don't ever recall seeing him make a bad mistake. Both are two underrated players who came into their own in the low light of Nashville and neither would fetch much on the market. For Tallon the addition of both was for a team that was supposed to be better than what the Panthers are, so there aren't many good reasons to keep them if the right deal falls in place. I'd miss both, but it's time to stop becoming so attached to spare parts.
- How George Parros didn't receive an instigator penalty for jumping Radko Gudas I'll never know. Also, if you slapped Radko's beard together with Parros' mustache, you'd have the face of a black bear.
- Another Conacher/Huberdeau showdown, another quiet night from both. While the battle is for the rookie points lead this season, I have a feeling Huberdeau will have another rival on the Lightning in the coming seasons; Steven Stamkos. Stammer has a head start on Hubs, but we'll enjoy that match up for years to come.
- With half of their team being AHLers, it's only natural that the Lightning promoted Syracuse's coach to replace
- Travel east to find your Tampa Bay recap at Raw Charge.
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Florida will close out the disastrous season series with the Washington Capitals on Saturday in Sunrise. Having looked terrible against the Caps this year after beating them for the Southeast Division title in 2011-12, it would be nice to actually play a good game against them in the final divisional matchup. Or not, seeing as Florida needs a good draft pick after this unusual streak of point production. Caps at Cats, Saturday at 7:30; LBC GameThread goes live around 7.