We’re back baby! Not gonna lie, I was getting nervous for a second. The 12 game win streak needed to end. We were getting out played and out shot towards the tail end of the streak and just won by taking advantage of some lucky opportunities. Once Ekblad got boarded hard in Edmonton my heart sank. That was the moment the streak was gonna end. Win one more and grab a point in OT in Vancouver. Next thing you know we got shut out hard with a 0-6 loss to Calgary. Fall 1-3 to cross town rivals the Lightning while they were on the hottest streak they’ve been on all season climbing their way towards the top of the standings. Edmonton got revenge with a 4-2 win on our own home turf. Luckily with a 3 day resting period in between and a healthy Ekblad back in the line up, we were back. Just peppered Darling with shots in a 4-0 win over defending Stanley Cup champs the Chicago Blackhawks and getting Lu another shut out. Less than 24 hours later Lu strapped on the pads for a night normally meant for Monty but stepped up for a big statement game letting the Atlantic know we’re fighting off any one threatening to take our top spot in the division. We followed the game plan that made us successful, just become offensive monsters getting goals early and never letting up.
Silent 1st period against the Bolts, but the second period was just Panthers feasting time with 4 goals from Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Reilly Smith on a PP, and Vinny Trocheck. All within an 8 minute span we ripped the life out of Tampa. Ballsy move from Quenneville pulling Darling with around 8 minutes left in the 3rd just to try to get some offensive scoring going, but only to be topped by Jon Cooper pulling Bishop with more than 10 minutes left in the 3rd. Cats got a little sloppy in the 3rd giving up a goal on the penalty kill, but good for Campbell who got goals on back to back nights taking the Empty Netter against Tampa. Not gonna lie, it’s nice when Ekblad isn’t the only guy on D to score. Night ended with another win for Lu and the Panthers winning 5-2, winning back to back nights against Stanley Cup finalist with both having sold out crowds, Snap the red hot Lightning’s 7 game win streak, and pushing the gap to 5 points between 1st and 2nd place in the Atlantic. Great weekend overall for Panther Fans.
Coming up next is a game against Toronto tomorrow, which i fully expect coming up with a win, and then we have the All star game break. Now I know Jagr has been pretty against the All star game but all accounts are that he is at least traveling to Nashville to appear. Who knows how much he’ll actually play but people are all whining calling him a cry baby about it. Listen, if you’re 43 years old, playing on a top line, scoring the most goals on a team and have the 2nd most points on a team that’s eagerly pushing to win a Stanley Cup final appearance, You can do whatever the fuck you want. He can tell me he’s gonna spit on me and have sex with my mom for all I care, what ever he needs to keep winning. If you’re 43 and doing as much as him then maybe you have the right to complain but you also don’t have a cup, so really you can’t. Hopefully he plays like 1 minute of 3-on-3 and thats it. Because coming up after the break is what I’ve been waiting for, The Washington Capitals.
I don’t know why or if i’ve ever said this on here but I kinda hate the Capitals. I see A LOT of Caps fans hate on the panthers because of the attendance blah blah blah but in the end, They’ve had a superstar for 10 years now with 0 cups to show for it. Ovechkin’s a monster but still no rings on his finger. Well this year they so far have been consistently the best team in the NHL going 35-8-3 with the league most 73 points. Holtby is 30-5 so far this season. Unbelievable. Last time we played Washington we won 4-1 but it was Gubauer in net for Washington. Well come February 2nd we’re on the road facing the number 1 team, Capitals on the national stage on NBCSN. Haven’t been back to NBC since 2014 where we lost to NJ. Well this is gonna be set to what should be the two top teams in the east battling it out. I need to see Holtby in net. I need the test to see how good we’ll fare and if we do well, hopefully that’s gonna be a look into the Eastern Conference Final because I don’t see Washington missing a step and I don’t think my heart can handle the Panthers not being there this year.
Small side note- A lot of talk about the future of Pirri on this team. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Gallant scratched him for 3 straight games when the Panthers were on down slump going 0-23 on power plays. I don’t look into it much at all. We obviously have scoring going everywhere but Pirri just has to get hot and itll happen soon. Gallant did the same thing last year and then Pirri was back with 6 goals in 7 games. Towards the end he went on like a 22 point streak in like 25 games. It’ll come back. Don’t see Tallon giving up a guy like him.