Monday, March 21, 2011

No, I didn't forget: Isles top Cats 4-3 in Shootout

SUNRISE - The Florida Panthers hosted the New York Islanders is what was a happy return for Panthers' rookie Evgeny Dadonov...and for the Isles' Rick DiPietro.

After a scoreless first period, Jesse Joensuu took a two minute boarding penalty 3 and a half minutes into period two. Michael Grabner, who was the last Panthers player cut in the preseason, took advantage. After stealing the pass in the defensive zone, he got the puck up to Frans Nielsen. Nielsen took it in and Grabner charged, taking the pass in the slot and scoring his 30th goal at 5:14 into the period.

But the Panthers, and Dadonov, were not going to let this one get away. At the 11:18 mark, Clay Wilson took a soft shot from the left wing point. It made its way in front to Dadonov who deflected it in to tie the game at 1. David Booth also earned an assist on that goal. For Dadonov, it was goal number 6 on the year.

Dadonov was not done. At 17:28, he came in hard along the right wing boards. He moved to center, holding the puck around his man. He then took a wrist shot that found its way into the back of the net. All of the sudden the Cats were up 2-1 and "Daddy was looking for a Natty Hatty". Sergei Samsonov and Dmitry Kulikov assisted on the goal.

With fans flocking to the gift shops in search of the perfect hat, the Panthers took the lead into the break. But the Islanders had a plan of their own to crush Daddy's possible Hatty.

P.A. Parenteau scored at the 7:08 mark to tie the game at 2. Jack Hillen was trying to center the puck, but the pass went to Parenteau in the left wing circle. He stepped in and scored his 18th goal on a wrist shot.

Michael Haley scored a few minutes later. Haley picked the puck off in the defensive end and went all the way down ice, scoring his second of the season, right through the five-hole at 9:50. Grabner was credited with an assist.

With the lead back on the Isles' side, somebody would have to step up and be the hero. It wasn't Dadonov, but Stephen Weiss brough the puck in, stopping right behind the left wing circle. He passed it to Samsonov who turned and got it right back to Weiss who sniped it in for his 21st goal of 2010-2011. Niclas Bergfors also helped on the goal.

Then, things started to get chippy. Kulikov was attempting a hit on Blake Comeau 15:13 into the period. A fight broke out between these unlikely candidates. In fact, it was Kulikov's first professional fight, and for Comeau his NHL fighting debut. You can see the fight here.

Two minutes later, at 17:16, Ryan Carter and Bruno Gerveis dropped the gloves. You can see that fight here. Carter does have fighting experience, but it was a surprise to see Gerveis in the fisticuffs. Both fights ended in draws.

We were tied going to overtime, and in the overtime, just 30 seconds before time expired, a penalty shot was awarded to Booth. He missed on a turnaround attempt, to send the game to a shootout. Mike Santorelli and Samsonov both missed for the Panthers. On the other side, Neilsen and
Parenteau both scored on Scott Clemmensen's five hole to secure the 4-3 shootout victory.

CAT BYTES: It was Dadonov's first multiple goal game of his short NHL career. He had only 2 shots on goal, making for a 100% shooting percentage. Haley was just an assist away from the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (Goal, Assist, Fight)

THREE STARS: 3) Michael Grabner (1 G 1 A) 2) Evgeny Dadonov (2 G) 1) Frans Nielsen (SO G)

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