Panthers Continue to Claw

After having a week of perfection when the Florida Panthers went 3-0, the team went 0-2 this week against the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun is familiar with shutouts when he starts; however, this time he was on the other side when his club visited Nashville to take on the Predators. Vokoun faced a total of 27 shots; 24 of those were turned away by the netminder.

The Predators got on the board early with an odd man rush and a great cross ice pass from Martin Erat that setup a Ryan Suter snap shot at the 1:14 mark. With Nashville already up 1-0, Shea Weber at the top of the right circle, added a goal before the end of the first period. Predators were able to weave through the Panthers defense, get them out of position as a pass from Suter, behind the net provided the scoring chance and extending the Predators lead to two.

The second period passed by without any scoring as both defense tightened up, especially Florida after giving up two first period goals.

In the final stanza, the score remained 2-0 Nashville, until the 19:06 mark. The Predators were on the power play with Panthers defenseman Dennis Wideman serving a hooking call in the penalty box and Vokoun pulled for the extra attacker. Joel Ward sealed the game with a 3-0 shutout as he found the back of the empty net with a wrist shot from the neutral zone.

The Panthers were back on home ice Wednesday night as southeast division rival, Carolina Hurricanes came into the Bank Atlantic Center. All was well for the Panthers coming out of the gate in the first. Within the first 5:16 of the period Florida got tallies from Evgeny Dadonov, Michael Frolik, and Bryan McCabe.

Canes starter Cam Ward had been replaced by Justin Peters after the goal by Frolik. At the other end, Vokoun was standing tall stopping 21 of 22 through two periods. However, this would change in the third period as the Panthers were outshot, 12-4.

Despite the Panthers leading 3-1 in the third period, the Hurricanes blew past the Panthers within a span of 6:46. A goal by Jamie McBain and two from Tuomo Ruutu capped off a superb comeback for the Hurricanes with a 4-3 win.

The Panthers have tough battles against the Atlantic and Northeast divisions starting tonight against the Buffalo Sabres in Sunrise. On Monday, the Panthers travel to Philadelphia to take on the Atlantic Division leading Flyers. They’ll then go across Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh to take on superstar Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins on Wednesday before concluding their trip in Buffalo with another matchup against the Sabres the very next night.

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