ABOUT LAST NIGHT is the morning-after recap of last night’s Florida Panthers game produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. It is a followup to Hockey Pat’s hilariously informative gameday article: THE LOWDOWN.
The contents of ABOUT LAST NIGHT and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read ABOUT LAST NIGHT, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.
COYOTES 2, PANTHERS 1
The Florida Panthers were tamed in the desert last night as the Cats fell to the Coyotes 2-1 in Glendale. The Panthers had a lot of chances but were thwarted by the ‘Yotes’ stifling defense and the strong play of goaltender Mike Smith.
In case you were too busy making a bonfire out of your failed March Madness brackets, here is what you may have missed from last night.
One-Goal Away, No Points Today
The Cats have been involved in over 30 one-goal games this year, and more often than not have come out on the losing side. We discussed this early in the week. While it isn’t any fun, and last night’s 2-1 defeat was no exception, there are significant positive takeaways from close games like this. Put simply, when you outshoot your opponent, have the puck possession battle tilted in your favor and come out on the wrong side, you have much to build on. Last night’s game was a perfect example, as the Cats got beat off a special teams goal, an “interesting” second Coyotes goal, and had numerous high quality scoring chances that didn’t translate to the goal sheet. In due time.
When the Coyotes brought in Martin Erat from the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline, they did so with the intention of putting together a line made up entirely of Czech Republic natives. Last night was the first time the dream became a reality as the trio of Martin Hanzal, Erat and Radim Vrbata held down first line duties for Phoenix.
The line had a productive night as Hanzal recorded an assist on Vrbata’s first period power-play goal. The assist was one of the more painful helpers Hanzal has recorded, as his part in the play involved getting hit with a shot in front of the net, setting up Vrbata for an easy finish.
Submitted Without Comment
The Coyotes’ second goal was “interesting”.
Let’s just move on.
Joey Crabb has been getting some top six minutes, playing on a line with Tomas Fleischmann and Vincent Trocheck. Crabb was all over the ice last night as he led the team in hits with six. One of those hits resulted in this scrap with Chris Summers:
What Does Robak Have to Do For His 1st NHL Goal???
This flashy glove snag by Mike Smith comes just two games after that ridiculous kick save on Robak on Sunday against the Canucks:
Did Scott Gomez Score Last Night? YES!
In the third period, up by two goals, the Coyotes were content to just sit back and defend, stacking four guys in the neutral zone and sending in a one-man forecheck. The ultra-defensive approach may be strategically sound but it makes for a bit of a stylistically dull game.
Fortunately, Scott Gomez managed to find a soft spot in that defense to rip a spot past Mike Smith, forcing Phoenix the Coyotes out of their listlessness.
The goal was Gomez’s second of the season and first since opening night. Take a look below and check out how Gomez locates a shooting lane while surrounded by all five Coyotes:
There won’t be much time for California dreaming this weekend as the Cats have a tough back-to-back in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday. Until then don’t get too worked up over your brackets, it’s not healthy.