Cory Stillman was tonights hero. Scoring the game tying goal for the Panthers in the third and the shootout winner, gave the veteran winger and his club their third straight victory. This game, however, was entirely more lopsided than the scoreboard read. The Panthers dominated. The best game of the year defensively. All four lines were skating hard and dictating play throughout the game, espicially through the neutral zone.
But still the Cats were down 2-0 entering the third period. Sounds about right.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu opened up the scoring on the power play early at the 3:01 mark of first period when Panther goalie Tomas Vokoun was found out of position down low. Koivu roofed it for his 18th goal of the year. The Wild again found the back of the net at the 11:01 mark when Robbie Earl beat Vokoun with a wrister after a pass off the boards by Panther captain Bryan McCabe that was intercepted by Wild defenceman Nick Schultz. After that it was all Florida.
McCabe made a beautiful pass to send Michael Frolik in on the breakaway early in the third. Frolik beat Wild goalie Nicklas Backstrom, ringing one off the botton of the crossbar and in. Stillman would later tie the game with a little bit of friendly theivery from fellow Panther Steven Reinprecht. Reinprecht skated into the offensive zone, with Stillman trailing, would up for a slap shot, but before his follow through came down, Stillman rifled the free puck past Backstrom at the 10:40 mark.
“We played a good game, and I thought we deserved two points,” Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. “It was a good team effort. We stuck to our system and stuck to our game plan, kept grinding away even though we weren’t getting rewarded for it. We finally got a couple.” The Panthers gave up 11 shots all night to set a franchise record.
Oh yeah, and the Panthers recorded the franchise’s 500th victory.
So let me get this straight. The Panthers over came a 2 goal deficit, in the third period, won in the shootout, and only gave up 11 shots on goal??? Aliens do exist. The real Florida Panthers have been abducted and replaced with hockey playing alien duplucates from the Great Andromeda Nebula.
Aliens or not, this is three straight wins. Lets keep this going.
BITZ AND PIECES: Newly acquired Panther forward Byron Bitz, who’s been spending time on the Florida Panthers second line, left the game and was unavailable in the third period due to an “undisclosed” injury. Lets hope he’s alright and is ready for Thursday night.
FROLIK ON THE ICE: Michael Frolik has 4 goals in 3 games. He has been the best Panther forward by far since returning from the Olympic break.
RARE WIN: This was the Panthers first win in Minnesota and their second win against the Wild in franchise history. I know these teams don’t hook up much but this was long over due.
GREATEST FREAKOUT EVER: Don’t ever cancel ANYONE’S World of Warcraft account.
About the Author
Written by Jack Powell
My name is Jack Powell. I'm 26 and work for a civil contracting company in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I've been a Panther fan since the team was formed in 1993 and don't ever plan on not being one. Looking forward to see what new Panther GM Dale Tallon is going to do to rebuild this franchise and make us a Cup contender!!