The Florida Panthers went 2-1-0 this week. On Monday they edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Scottie Upshall scored the game winning goal, his first as a Panther. Thursday, fate went the other way, as the lost to the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a goal with just two seconds left. Florida stormed back, coming from behind against the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2 Saturday. Jason Garrison had two goals on the week, including the game-winner in Buffalo. He is now just one goal shy of his career high of five goals.
- On Monday, the Panthers welcome the Winnipeg Jets for the first time since 1996. Children in a Halloween costume get into the game free, and there will be trick-or-treating for those children. On the hockey side, the Jets come in at 3-6-1 with 7 points, just a point shy from the cellar in the Eastern Conference. They lost 1-0 to Tampa Bay on Saturday after winning an ugly 9-8 contest on Thursday in Philadelphia. Kyle Wellwood leads the team in goals with four. Former Panther Tanner Glass returns as the team’s leader in penalty minutes. The Jets return to Florida two more times this year, as they are in the Southeast Division after moving from Atlanta this summer.
- On Thursday, the Panthers present the “Dale Tallon Special” as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town. Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell, and Jack Skille all played for Chicago last year, with Kris Versteeg also a former Blackhawk. Former Panthers Steve Montador, Rostislav Olesz, and Michael Frolik return to the Sunshine State. Chicago leads the league in penalty kill percentage, and is in the top five in goals per game. On the flip side, they are in 27th in penalty kill. Chicago is 6-2-2 with 14 points this season, leading the Central Division. They are off until Thursday.
- Sunday sees a familiar opponent in town. The Tampa Bay Lighting, Florida’s in-state rival, and the team the Panthers played their home opener against. Tampa Bay is 5-4-2 for 12 points, effectively tied with the Panthers for second in the Southeast Division. They will face Chicago Friday.
ON THE FARM:
SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE (AHL)
- The Rampage were dealt their a sweep in their first “three-day weekend” of the 2011-12 season. Prior to the weekend, Wacey Rabbit was recalled once again from Cincinnati.
- On Friday, their in-state rival Houston Aeros handed them a 4-2 loss. Bill Thomas earned his first goal of the 2011-12 campaign in the first period, and after Houston tied it in the second, Greg Rallo scored to regain the lead. It was former Panther Jeff Taffe who scored the game winner with under a minute left in the second, and Casey Wellman put home some insurance in the third. Tyler Plante was tabbed with the loss in his first start of the season.
- Saturday’s game was much of the same. Colby Robak got the scoring started for the Rampage nearly six minutes into the opening frame, but the Charlotte Checkers scored two in the first, and one each in the second and third to win 4-1. Brian Foster got the start in net and made 30 saves in the loss.
- Sunday produced another carbon copy, as the Rampage fell 4-1 to the Oklahoma City Barons. Down 1-0, Mike Kostka scored his second of the season late in the first, but the Barons took the lead with under two minutes left in the period. Two third period goals, including an empty netter, iced the game for Oklahoma City.
- THIS WEEK: San Antonio sees the Toronto Marlies come to town Saturday, and will face their rival Texas Stars Sunday afternoon.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES (CHL)
- The Bees fell to the Laredo Bucks 4-3 in Laredo on Friday night. Jake Hauswirth scored two goals in the second and Aaron Lee added a third period goal, but Laredo scored all four goals in the second for the victory. John Murray earned the loss in net.
- The tables turned Saturday at Laredo Energy arena as the Bees exploded for six goals, winning 6-3. Zac Pearson scored the first two goals and assisted on David Marshall’s goal in the first to go up 3-0 early. After Laredo attempted a comeback early in the second, Rio Grande Valley countered with an AK Mikkelsen and Dan Gendur goal. Laredo talled another goal in the second, but Lee got that one back to start off the third, and while Laredo attempted the comeback one more time, it was too little, too late.
- THIS WEEK: The Bees stay home to face the Texas Brahmas on Friday and Tulsa Oilers Saturday.
CINCINNATI CYCLONES ( ECHL)
- Cincinnati played just one game this weekend, falling to the Kalamazoo K-Wings 6-5 at Wings Stadium. Kalamazoo got on the board first. Anthony Luciani scored his first goal for the Cyclones to tie the score in the first, but The K-Wings scored the next five goals before the Cyclones mounted a third period comeback, scoring four goals in the final frame as led by Adam Comrie. It was not enough, though and the Cyclones felly just short.
- THIS WEEK: The Cylcones have a home-and-home with the Chicago Express. Friday night’s game will be in Chicago before the two teams head to Cincinnati for their home opener Saturday.
- Quinton Howden scored a goal in each of his three games played for Moose Jaw (WHL)
- Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists ins St. John(‘s) 6-0 victory over Chicoutimi.
- Drew Shore had two assists as Denver split their series with Michigan Tech this weekend.
- Kyle Rue had a goal and three assists and Nick Bjugstad added a goal and two assists of his own as Minnesota traveled to the great white north to take on Alaska-Anchorage this weekend.
- Rocco Grimaldi tallied an assist on North Dakota’s 3-1 victory over St. Cloud State Saturday. It was his first collegiate point.
- Ben Gallacher had the game tying goal as Ohio State beat Alaska-Fairbanks 3-2 in a shootout.