Heading into Madison Square Garden last night, there was really only one thing on my mind for the Florida Panthers.
I know saying that a game is a must win is always a panic statement, but looking ahead at the schedule, the Panthers third period comeback denied what could have easily grown into at least a four game losing streak.
For as far as the Panthers have come this season, and they have come miles and miles, asking them to win in New Jersey against Marty Brodeur, and in Washington against the Super Capitals, on a back to back, is a tough thing to ask indeed. Not to mention Florida has to finish the road trip at Atlanta, against a team they have not had too much success against on the road in recent years. Simply put, last night's win was monumentally huge, even if it wasn't pretty. Craig Anderson showed why, once again, he has truly been an unsung hero for this team at times. And the team once again showed its heart and fight to comeback in a game that they needed very badly.
Most current thoughts:
-The Cats came back to win for the first time when trailing after two periods against a team not named Toronto. That is another step in the right direction, and should be another confidence booster as the season gets closer to the end.
-I think I heard screaming obscenities from Panthers fans across the land as the clock ticked down to triple goose eggs in regulation in the Buffalo/Carolina game. Somebody win in regulation, for all that is good. Last night's result was probably the worst one we could have hoped for. And somehow the dive team racked up a 6-1 powerplay edge over a team that had one of the best differentials in the league. They were at home in the swimming pool. Just sayin'...
-Would anybody else gladly accept one win, if offered, out of the two we play this weekend? If Florida can somehow win one of these two very difficult games, they will have officially escaped the most difficult stretch of the season unscathed.
-After the Panthers finish the last three games of this five game trip, they will set up with 11 home games and 7 road games left for the season. That is a very nice split, and hopefully will keep the boys fresh enough to play well all the way to the end.
-Does anybody else just want the Jay Bouwmeester saga to end? Jacques Martin has done great things as GM, and I trust he will do the right thing here. I just want this situation to be resolved by the trade deadline next week.
-Another scoreboard watching night for Panthers fans. Montreal is in Philadelphia, where a Philly regulation victory would give us the game in hand to catch the Habs, and Pittsburgh is in Chicago, where the Blackhawks could keep the Penguins out of the rearview mirror in the East. So go home teams!
This is definitely a huge weekend for the Panthers, with a couple of afternoon games coming up in hostile environments. Let's hope Vokoun gets over his ear infection and Stillman's foot heals up quickly. Those are two guys we need in the lineup.
Panthers playoff chances: 89.7% (Trending up)
Playoffs or bust.
Just One Step...
1 year ago