Bend-Don’t-Break Panthers vs Hurricanes
If you’ve ever played Altered Beast, you know the premise of the game is that Zeus resurrects you from death in order to save his daughter from the evil Neff.
On Thursday night, the Panthers pulled off their own Altered Beast moment when they rose from their “grave” after being dead for the majority of the game against the Stars.
The struggling Florida offense suddenly erupted for three unanswered goals in the span of 3:11 to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2.
These goals were sorely needed, not only to win that game (obviously), but from a team confidence standpoint. Prior to that, Florida had poured on 95 shots in two games against Dallas and had only two goals to show for it - brutal.
I’m not saying they’ll start dropping seven a night like they did in that first game against Dallas, but my hope is that Thursday’s comeback has helped break that two-game drought and spark regular goal production.
I felt Dallas did a good job neutralizing Huby and Barky during that series - especially that third game. Good on Barky for breaking through and scoring that first goal, which started the domino effect that lead to Florida’s win.
"The third period, especially the last 10 minutes, we were all over them. We were playing in their zone almost all the time. It was just a matter of time until we were going to score a goal, and then we finally got the lucky bounce. We didn't get any lucky bounces last game." - Barkov
Barky is now tied with Hornqvist for team-lead in goals (8) and is second to Huby in points (20).
Something interesting to note is that victory has no put the Panthers at 6-0-0 in games following a loss. That’s an impressive stat.
Here Comes the Story of the Hurricane(s)
The Panthers sit first in a very tight Central Division with 28 points. Carolina trails them by a mere three points at 25.
There’s no secret to the Hurricanes. They’re a very talented team with a lot of speed and skill. Yandle probably put it best:
A generic sports statement? Sure. But it’s the truth. The Panthers can’t afford to stumble out of the gate against Carolina because they have the ability to put the Cats down quick and keep them there.
Good news for Florida is they get Mr. Hit ‘Em, Radko Gudas, back in the lineup (Forsling will sit with a lower-body injury). I think the Panthers struggled at times against Dallas’ physical play, especially from the backend, and I think Gudas will be key to bring a similar game to the Hurricanes tonight. It will be important to slow them down and disrupt their flow, because once they get going, they get dangerous.
Florida should hopefully have a bit of an edge heading into tonight’s game with Teuvo Teravainen out for his fifth game in a row (upper-body injury), and Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov both scoreless in the last three games. So Carolina’s top line might be a bit shaky, but that doesn’t mean they can’t erupt - just think what the Panthers did in three minutes last game.
Here’s a nice little summary for the two teams since their last meeting via Litter Box Cats:
“The last game between these two was a 4-3 barn burner just a week ago. Both teams are in the top ten in goals for per game with the Panthers at 3.21 and the Hurricanes at 3.26. Both teams have top ten power plays above 25 percent and the Panthers have the highest shots per game average at 34.1. Offense is the name of the game for the Panthers and the power play is where a lot of it comes from. Aaron Ekblad has been running the PP from the back end with smooth breakout passes and getting his shots on net which has been the key factor to his six power play points this year.”
#72 Betwwen the Pipes
Bob gets the nod again and I think that’s a good idea. Not only did I think he played well last game, but I think he’s the kind of guy that needs to get consistent reps under his belt to get his groove and confidence going.
For anyone rolling their eyes at the thought of Bob starting tonight, check out this blurb from the Panthers site:
“Without Bobrovsky, the Panthers would've never been a position to mount their comeback.
On top of his game from the moment the puck dropped, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner made a season-high 37 saves, including stopping all 11 shots he faced in the third period. Of those 37 saves, a whopping 12 originated from high-danger areas, per NaturalStatTrick.com.
"The whole game, Bob was keeping us in the game," Barkov said. "He gave us a chance to win the game, especially in the second period when they were all over us. He kept it a two-goal game. We just needed one to get going, and then it opened up after that. A huge win for us."
Quenneville described tonight's game as a "goalie win" for Bobrovsky.
"He kept us in there and gave us a chance for something to happen in the third," Quenneville said. "We found a way, but Bob was the reason why."
Improving to 6-2-1 with the victory, Bobrovsky appears to be settled back into a groove. Over his last two starts, the 32-year-old has turned aside 62 of 66 shots for a .939 save percentage.
"I felt good," Bobrovsky said. "Right from the beginning, I felt comfortable… The guys stepped up. It's a great win for us. Those kinds of wins when you're down 2-0 and then all of the sudden you find a way to win the game, it gives a great boost of energy in the locker room. Put the points in the bank. That's so important, especially for the end of the season."
I really like the last two points on this Goldy post. Would like to see those two get some more time in the lineup.
Hey...let’s finally get a win in those beautiful Reverse Retro sweaters and come in with that Frank energy tonight:
All gas, no brakes - Go Panthers!