Panthers Fall To Habs For Second Straight OT Loss
Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers scored five goals….and lost in overtime. Thursday night, the same Panthers squad only gave up one goal….and lost in overtime. Rene Bourqueâ€™s tip in 2:10 into overtime wasA all the visiting Montreal Canadiens would need as they downed the Cats 1-0.
After allowing five or more goals in two straight games, Floridaâ€™s defense tightened up against a dynamic Montreal team but, for the first 40 minutes of the game, the Panthers did little to support their netminder, Jose Theodore, as they were largely ineffective as they managed only 13 shots in that time, as compared to 21 for the Habs. For the third period, the offense came alive, jumpstarted once again by the “Kid Line” of Jonathan Huberedeau-Drew Shore-Peter Mueller, posting that same amount of shots over the final 20. Coach Kevin Dineen had this to say of his teamâ€™s performance:
“It was a tough game for us. We got outworked for a stretch and we finally decided to start playing a simple game. Things followed from there but, obviously, not enough to bring us home.
Theodore rebounded nicely from his last start, a 5-0 loss to the Washington Capitals this past Saturday, with a phenomenal effort in the Florida cage, stopping 31 of 32 Habs shots. The speedy Habs kept pressure on Theodoreâ€™s net consistently all night but the Panther defense did a solid job of blocking shots and cleaning up any rebounds for shots that actually did make it through. Dineen was not surprised by the performance of his veteran netminder:
We bring it upon ourselves when we have to bring up discussions about goaltending and team defense, whatever the situation is. But, when youâ€™re dealing with a professional like Jose you know that heâ€™s waiting for that next opportunity and I thought he was very solid tonight.
Once again, the chief bright spot for the Panthers had to be the play of the Shore line. After two periods of REALLY lackluster hockey, the line lit a fire under the teamâ€™s offense and, creating the majority of the teamâ€™s best chances most of the night but, alas, not able to get one past Carey Price, who was sensational. Also, Shawn Matthias and Dmitry Kulikov posted strong efforts for the second consecutive games. Even though both players factored into the game winning goal, they were strong over the first 60 minutes while playing heavy minutes. Kulikov logged 24:48 in this game, including 2:58 on the penalty kill.
For the second straight game, itâ€™s a bitter pill to swallow but, at the very least, the Cats collected a point, something they werenâ€™t doing in earlier losses. But, itâ€™s frustrating when two points have been there on both nights of this home stand. Two wins to close it out and you can categorize it as a good stand regardless of the first two games but, things wonâ€™t get easier. The Tampa Bay Lightning come calling Saturday afternoon. The Bolts put it on the Panthers 5-1 in their first meeting. Then Monday, the now difficult-to-play Toronto Maple Leafs head to Sunrise for the first time this season.
After the game, I (ok, and FSNâ€™s Frank Forte as well ) had a chance to talk to Huberdeau:
Before the game, the folks at Montreal Hockey Talk were kind enough to invite me on their pregame show. I want to thank Steven, Kamal, Corey and Coach K for having me on. If you so desire, you can hear the show here.
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