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Saturday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Bolts zap Desert Dogs, creep ever so closer to resting Cats

Tampa Bay Lightning v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

The idle Florida Panthers lead in the Atlantic Division is down to a single point after the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in Glendale last night. Steven Stamkos powered the Bolts to victory with two goals and backup keeper Brian Elliott made 16 saves as Tampa Bay moved to 68 points with a game in hand on the Cats. The Lightning can pass on Tuesday when the visit the New Jersey. Florida is off until Wednesday night’s meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh.

In other games, Connor McDavid set up two goals as the Edmonton Oilers were 3-1 winners over the New York Islanders in the debut of new head coach Jay Woodcroft. The expansion Seattle Kraken earned its seventh road win with a 4-3 upset of the Anaheim Ducks; and the Dallas Stars scored a 4-3 decision over the Winnipeg Jets.

Power Rankings

NHL.com released its latest Super 16 power rankings yesterday and the Panthers are up one spot to No. 2 behind the Colorado Avalanche, moving the Carolina Hurricanes down to No. 3. The Pittsburgh Penguins are now No. 7, flip-flopping with the Minnesota Wild, who are No. 8.

2. Florida Panthers (32-10-5)

Total points: 204

The Panthers are off until February 16, when they play at the Hurricanes. They are averaging 4.09 goals per game, tied with the Avalanche for first in the NHL. Florida leads the NHL with 135 goals at 5-on-5

Olympics

At the Olympics in Beijing, the Women’s semifinal field is set. The United States defeated Czechia 4-1 and Canada pummled Sweden 11-0 yesterday. Late last night they were joined by Switzerland, who beat Russia 4-2, and Finland, who thrashed Japan by a 7-1 count.

The United States will face Finland while Canada will take on Switzerland for the right to play for gold.

In Men’s play, Team USA scored a 4-2 win over archrival Canada to move to the top of Group A. Ben Meyers, Andy Miele, Brendan Brisson and Kenny Agostino scored the goals for the U.S. and Strauss Mann, a member of Skellefteå AIK in the SHL, made 35 saves. Mat Robinson and former Panther Corban Knight (SHG) lit the lamp for Canada.

The other game in Group A saw host China put a bit of a scare into Germany before falling short, 3-2.

This morning, Group B will go with Russia taking on Czechia and Switzerland doing battle with Denmark to complete pool play. Both games start at 8:10 or time.