LeBrun: Well, the Capitals are doing their best to keep the Panthers in the turtle race known as the Southeast Division title chase, losing at home to the Islanders on Tuesday night. You wonder if the team that doesn’t win the Southeast will even make the playoffs.
Having said that, I watched Boston-Florida on Monday night and thought the Panthers played a tremendous game against the Cup champs. It doesn’t look to me like they’re ready to fade at all. The Panthers have been slowed down by a slew of injuries. That’s certainly a theme around the league this season, but for Florida it really hit hard because as GM Dale Tallon cleverly rebuilds the organization, they don’t yet have the kind of depth needed to sustain massive injuries over a long period of time.
When I spoke to Tallon last week about his ideas for the Feb. 27 trade deadline, he wanted to get healthy and look at the play of his team before he determined what he needed and whether he’d be a buyer or not.
Burnside: You’re exactly right on the depth front, my friend. Keaton Ellerby, the 10th overall pick from 2007, will get a chance to strut his stuff with Jovanovski out of action for what Tallon said might be six weeks and I, too, thought that game against Boston was a nice statement game even though they ended up losing in a shootout. The crowds are starting to come around in Florida as the Panthers continue to occupy the division lead, and it would be nice to see the Cats play meaningful games post-All Star break for the first time in a long time.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has always insisted there are fans in South Florida, they just need a reason to come out. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2000 and hasn’t had a team with any real identity since the squad that snuck into the 1996 finals, this season has been a bonus. Now we’ll see if rookie head coach Kevin Dineen can keep his squad pointed in the right direction. We’ve seen teams like the Minnesota Wild, crushed by Philadelphia Tuesday night by a 5-1 count, go off the rails, so these will be interesting days for the Panthers.
My two favorite american teams are playing tonight. My brother lives in Steamboat Springs and I have attended many Avs games.
The avalanche are in many ways the mirror image of the panthers in the western conference. A solid core of young players with a couple of solid veterans. Overall the Avs are an inconsistent team who could absolutely turn on the jets and play lights out one night and be flat as the pepsi the arena was built on the next.
The key for the panthers is slowing down the speed of the avs. I think if the panthers can go out establish a forecheck and slow the pace of the game it will ultimately end in our favor. Also gotta slow them down in the neutral zone.
Also would like to see a lot of shots because one of the biggest inconsistencies for the avs this year is goaltending. I suspect Giguere will be playing and he has done well recently.
This should be a very interesting game with both teams struggling and are hungry for a win. I'll be on my to work tomorrow morning when the sun rises, but I'm making sure I stay up for this one. I hope Theodore is ready to start and if any of the injured guys come back that they'll return to form the way Goc & Samuelsson did. Big two points on the line. I don't want this to be another overtime or shootout loss, so get it done in regulation, boys. Can't believe I have to root for those damn Habs tonight, but it's all to help stay in 1st place.
Very surprised by the Versteeg scratch, especially considering our team is starved for goals and IMO Flash has done a much better job at disappearing for 58 minutes of a game. Surprised he's still in.
This is a big game. We need to start rolling again. Maybe Upshall will give a boost to the locker room (anyone else feel like he's not even really a Panther yet? I find myself forgetting about him a lot haha).
I agree. I know some aren't bothered with flip flopping between 9th and 3rd but I really think it's much better for the Panthers if we hang on to 3rd. Casual hockey fans are much more likely to come to a game if they see the Panthers in 3rd place. That and I just like to have bragging rights that we're first in the division
Let's not waste our 2 games in hand on the Jets. We beat the Avs and beat the Jets it will really bury them. We'll have a very substantial lead and 2 games in hand on them.
For the short term, if we get 2 points tonight it doesn't matter what the caps do with their game, we'll still be a point ahead. Last night against the Isles was the Caps chance to be ahead of us with the same number of GP, they blew it, now let's make them pay.
Originally Posted by gizmo12688
Edit: I just noticed the Caps play the Habs tonight as well. Go Montreal! *shudders*
LOL. I can relate to this completely. It sounds really wrong and dirty but Go Habs!