Beating the hell out of the Devils
For the second time in a week, the Panthers scored an impressive shutout victory. Last week it took place in Carolina, where the cats won 5-0. Carolina is all right this year, that's about all. The win was significant for two reasons.
1 Florida rarely wins at Carolina. Just once in over fifteen tries before last week's game.
2 Carolina was Florida's closest pursuer for a playoff spot
Last night's win was more impressive. Goalie Tomas Vokoun shut down the dangerous New Jersey offense that features Zach Parise and Patrik Elias and others. Florida had four different forwards contribute a goal each. They were Stephen Weiss, Cory Stillman, Nathan Horton, and Richard Zednik. All of who now have ten or more goals scored on the season. This against a team that had a seven game road winning streak and had won 13 of their last 15 games.
Vokoun's fifth shutout of the year gives Florida a league leading team total of eight for the season. Florida's defensemen whose goal scoring has cooled off of late, are among the highest scoring as a team in the league.
Florida is 16-7-5 at home this year, 13-13-3 on the road, and are 13-4-3 since the beginning. The team is also 8-0 on a certain day of the week. If Florida could only play the rest of the season on Tuesdays......
As it stands now, Florida is 4-way tie for 5th place in the Eastern conference. The Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals are too far ahead to be caught, but Florida I just don't can be stopped from making the playoffs this year. That is as long as they don't trade star defensemen Jay Bouwmeester. Bouvwmeester becomes a unrestricted free agent at year's end, but as the stats show Florida is one of the hottest teams in hockey at present. This team is going to the playoffs, and they could go far in the postseason if they keep playing like they are now.
Next up for the Panthers- Games against Chicago and Boston at Florida.
Rob at Panther's Portal is also commenting.