One point.. After everything the Panthers have gone through the last one+ week, the Panthers finally fought hard enough tonight to get one…
A goal from grinder Nick Tarnasky, and an injured and struggling Stephan Weiss.. and the Panthers finally get one.
Behind a bruised and battered goaltender, a semi attentive audience, and television broadcasters who seemed more interested in other things… the Panthers got one..
And behind a shootout that was actually quite entertaining… the Panthers got one..
As a Panther fan all my life, this has to be one of the toughest stretches I can remember. A team which was dealt a crushing blow just a few games in while playing in Philadelphia, (I am referring to the hit placed on David Booth), and fought through more injuries than almost every other team up until mid- January, is collapsing. Guys like Kendal McCardle and Shawn Mattias were main stays on this team. Victor Oreskovich was a “must have”. We fought to get into 6th place in the eastern conference just a few weeks ago. We laughed at injuries to our all-star goaltender Tomas Vokoun, and our only hope at a sniper, Nathan Horton. We settled for Cory Stillman on the top line, when we were too injury depleted to make up two acceptable top lines. Throw in our real captain (in my opinion), Stephan Weiss, missing a game here and there, an average of 3 goal posts hit per game, and a total lack of confidence, and here we stand. 59 points. Behind an Atlanta team that just traded away their only all star, Ilya Kovalchuk. Barely ahead of an Islander team with an average age of 12, and a Toronto team that almost has more defencemen on its roster than forwards.
Just yesterday, the new majority owners of the Panthers franchise submitted a letter on the teams website about the “changes” to come for this team. We read a few days ago about our General Mangers frustration after an embarassing 4-1 loss at the hands of the last place Carolina Hurricanes as he stated: “this is the last time we will see this particular group of players on the ice as a team”. The next day, we traded a struggling Dominic Moore to the Habs for a 2nd round draft pick in 2011. Dominic Moore went on to score a goal in his first game as a Montreal Canadien. So injury depleted are we that we had to dress Rusty Olesz for the next game, a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, for a faceoff so that we would have the allowed amount of players dressed for an NHL game.. Olesz has a broken finger and is out until after the Olympic break..
And now tonight. We fought to a RARE, and I mean RARE, 2 goal lead. Nick Tarnasky scored a RARE goal. Stephan Weiss fought for a nice, RARE goal on the powerplay… yes you heard correctly, the powerplay. We gave it all we could. And almost like it wasn't meant to be, again, we lost a lead.
And we have to settle for one…
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Written by Robert Uzzo