Thursday, March 17, 2011

Panthers recap from Tuesday and GAMEDAY vs Toronto Maple Leafs 3/17/11

PANTHERS GAME DAY

 FLORIDA PANTHERS (27-33-11 65 points)

vs

 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (31-30-10 72 points)

Thursday, March 17, 2011 7:30 PM BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, FL
TV: FS-Florida (Panthers Territory), SNET-Ontario (Toronto)
RADIO: 560 WQAM (Miami) 640 AM (Toronto)
* * *
The Florida Panthers will try to put their recent loss behind them and play spoiler tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. On Tuesday, the faced...and lost to...the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers got out to an unsurprising early lead, despite the Panthers playing some good hockey in the first. Scott Hartnell let go a wrist shot for his 20th goal of the year 4:28 in. Mike Richards and Ville Leino assisted on the first goal of the night.

Samsonov - Kulikov
But Florida was not going to let this one get away. Stephen Weiss let go a wrist shot at the 7:08 mark to get his 19th goal by Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher. Segei Samsonov and Keaton Ellerby tallied helpers on the game-tying goal.

And they were not done. Late in the first, at 18:11, Dmitry Kulikov blasted his sixth shot from the point to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead at the break. Samsonov also assisted on the goal.

But the second period was all Jeff Carter. He scored twice. His 31st goal came 4:43 into the period with Claude Giroux assisting. His second of the game and 32nd of the season came on the back end of the period. At 15:23, Carter was able to get the wrister off and past Tomas Vokoun. Danny Briere assisted.

It was all they needed as the Panthers fell 3-2 to the Flyers. Carter was the first star of the night with Briere and Samsonov taking two and three, respectively. The game was also listed as a sellout, although with all of the tarps off it hardly "sold out".

Giguere played his 1st season in Hartford
ONTO TONIGHT: The Toronto Maple Leafs blow into Sunrise tonight for a St. Patrick's Day Showdown against the Florida Panthers. For the Leafs, it is their third game against a southeast division opponent. They took care of the Carolina Hurricanes on the road last night 3-1 after falling to Tampa Bay at home 6-2. Last night's win was big, as it puts them just 4 points behind the Buffalo Sabres for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. The win also brought them to within two points of the 9th place Hurricanes. 

GOALIES GALORE: The Toronto goalie situation is a bit interesting. James Reimer was benched after allowing the first 5 Tampa Bay goals Monday night. He bounced back to get the W on Wednesday. The probably goalie for the Leafs Thursday is actually J.S. Giguere. He has not started since February 16, when he appeared in the Leafs' 2-1 win in Buffalo. Giguere has appeared in 3 games since, but has not won a game since February 12 against Atlanta. Injuries have continued to plague the Leafs, but they are fighting through without a number 1 goalie.

FUN IN THE SUN: The NHL General Managers met up this week in Boca Raton for some fun in the sun. While they soaked up the rays, they did talk some serious issues. Most importantly, they talked concussions. Yesterday, some new rules took effect:
"Starting tonight, players suspected of having a concussion will be removed from the game and sent to a quiet place free from distraction so they can be examined by the on-site team physician. The physician will use the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool test to evaluate the player. Symptoms include loss of consciousness, motor in coordination or balance problems, a blank or vacant look, slow to get up after a hit to the head, disorientation, clutching of the head after a hit or visible facial injury in combination with another symptom."
Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke
While this will help, a couple of issues are still being addressed. For one, many players do not show signs of a concussion until 3 or 4 days after getting hit. Also, NHL officials and GMs are pushing to keep the rules the same, or at least similar, to their current form. All of this comes as the league tries to keep a balance between safety and the integrity of the game. Time will tell if the enhancements to the rules will help keep player concussions down, but I am in favor of the way the league is handling the situation. A fun fact, though: A study showed that a (surprisingly) low number of concussions occurred during fights. Interesting.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY: Whether you are going to the game or going out, please be safe today and tonight. Enjoy hockey, baseball, and college basketball. Be responsible! Have a designated driver if you go out drinking. I'll be sleeping, so drink one for me...and if you're under age, enjoy some green tea instead! This public service announcement presented by Lucky Charms. (not really)

PROBABLE GOALIES: 
FLA - Tomas Vokoun
TOR - Jean-Sebastian Giguere

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