Sunday, January 26, 2014

Panthers Pounce Shorthanded, Win in the Shootout

The Panthers just kept coming as the clip the Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout.

In the first period, Sean Bergenheim got behind the defence and scored his 12th of the season, setting the pace of the game early on. The Panthers continued to play solid, forchecking hockey and kept the Red Wings at bay. The Red Wings couldn’t get any sustained pressure as Thomas wasn’t really tested. All things said, the Red Wings came on stronger in the latter half of the period and we had the making of another one-goal game.

In the second period, Nyquist put his team on the board, as he picked up a Franzen pass and beat Thomas five-hole for his 9th of the season. And then, the unthinkable happened; the ever elusive Dan Cleary, who got the call he was playing 15 minutes before the game, won a face-off that led to the Alfredsson goal that made it 2-1 Red Wings. And Cleary wasn’t the only one who had a good game, as the kids – Jurco, Sheahan and Tatar – were getting it done. The aforementioned Sheahan finished off a play by Tatar who scored on a spin-o-rama, on the powerplay and made it 3-1 for the Red Wings.

The third period had some more jump to it. Boyes and Gilbert had some chances early on Gustavsson, who stood tall, but he couldn’t help letting a Winchester shot get through him, making it 3-2 at 9:12. Cleary, never one to be upstaged, did his best Tomas Holmstrom impression and had a goal waived off for after a questionable goaltender interference call.

As the period progressed, the Panthers came on stronger, heavily outshooting the Red Wings early on but as in all good things in life, it had to come to an end. Tatar finished up a nice Sheahan play at the top of the circle and it was 4-2 for the Red Wings. Drew made "Shore" that he kept his team in the game, as he snapped a shot into a wide open net at 14:19 to make it 4-3. The Red Wings then got caught up on an odd-man rush on the power-play and shootout player extraordinaire Brad Boyes scored a short-handed marker, making it even at 4-4 at 16:14 in the 3rd.

Overtime solved nothing and Florida eventually won it thanks to a Bjugstad goal in the shootout.

All in all, there were two things I noticed in tonight’s game. One, Mike Babcock seemed to be relying on his 2nd line of Jurco – Sheahan – Tatar all throughout the game, 5 on 5 and on the powerplay and the kids responded. They finished with a very solid 5 points and +3 overall. The other positive thing is that Kyle Quincey went unnoticed throughout the game, which is a very good thing. He played a defensively sound game, even though he finished with an even rating.