The Florida Panthers had a date in famed Madison Square Garden with the New York Rangers. The Panthers are finish off their road trip and looking to wrap it up with a win. In goal for NY was Henrik Lundqvist and Jose Theodore in nets for the Panthers.
Again I was looking for another Goalie duel with these two excellent netminders. Goals would be hard to come by on the Rangers as they are known not only for their goaltending but for the defense as well. Little did I know how stingy the NY defense was going to be.
The first period started out with play pretty even between the two teams. I guess it was a sign when Marco Sturm had one trickle just wide of the NY Rangers goal which was a foreshadowing of the events of the evening. The penalties in the first killed the Panthers with two power play goals being scored by the Rangers from Richards and Anisimov. As it turns out the lone Panthers goal was scored in this period by Gudbranson late in the period. That pretty much was the end of the highlights for Panthers fans as the period ended 2-1 Rangers.
The Second Period was like a nightmare that just kept getting worse and worse for the Panthers. The Panthers had their opportunities as the script was flipped with the Rangers taking all the penalties in the second but Florida just could not capitalize. The Rangers increased their lead with four goals being scored by Eminger, Gaborik and two by Stepan. All of these goals were at even strength. The first Stephan goal caught the Panthers no making the necessary adjustments in the transition in the neutral zone. The period ended 6-1 Rangers and the game was pretty much over at this point.
There was no scoring in the third period by either team. Every so often every team has games like this. Hopefully this is just a hiccup. Special teams were the difference in this one with the Panthers giving up two power-play goals and going 0-7 on their own power-play. That folks was the game in a nutshell. The concerning thing for Panthers fans is the increase in penalties being taken by the Cats. Also their positioning on the PK needs to be corrected going forward. Let’s hope the Panthers can bounce back agains the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday back home at BankAmerica Center.