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.
PANTHERS 3, STARS 2
The Florida Panthers made a statement last night with their 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars. Playing against a Stars team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff scrum, the Panthers endured an early barrage thanks to a little help from Roberto Luongo, who made 35 save in the game, and clawed their way back from a 2-0 hole to emerge with an impressive victory against a very good team.
Here is what you may have missed from last night:
Cats Helping Dogs….and Whales?
Stars Fall to Earth
I cannot overstate just how awesome Sunday’s victory was. Here are just a few of the reasons why the W is worth getting psyched about:
1. The Stars are a good team. In the brutally tough Western Conference, just being in the playoff picture at the end of the season is impressive and coming into Sunday’s game Dallas was in the driver’s seat for the West’s 8th seed. Dallas has talent, and lots of it.
2. Dallas has every reason to be playing as hard as possible. This was not one of those mid-season slumber games where good teams submit laconic performances.
The Stars are in the middle of a playoff race that is about as tight as it gets. Last night’s loss has the Stars holding onto the West’s last playoff spot by just one point over the Coyotes. The Stars are not in a position to be sleepwalking through games.
Dallas showed up to play but the Panthers came out on top. The win is a testament to the progress Florida has made this season.
This is exactly what they got him for. Roberto Luongo made the big saves all night keeping the Cats in the game and giving them a chance to win. When Luongo is on, the Panthers can beat anybody. Just ask the Sharks.
4. The Panthers showed character in the comeback win. With the playoffs out of the question and just a few games left in the season, it would be easy for the team to pack it in, but last night’s effort was the exact opposite of going through the motions.
Down 2-0 in the second period, the Cats shifted the momentum their way and took the game to a Stars team that looked a bit shell-shocked by the amount of fight the Panthers had in them.
Playoffs or no playoffs, the Panthers brought it last night and BB&T Center was rocking and it was awesome.
5. Peter Horachek’s second period timeout speech in a nutshell:
Star Wars Night
The Cats stormed back to top the Stars on Star Wars Night at BB&T Center…. as you can probably imagine, the Star Wars puns were flying around faster than the Millenium Falcon attempting to outrun a fleet of tie fighters.
The Panthers came up with a couple of big firsts in the win last night. By setting the table for Brandon Pirri’s second period goal, Bobby Butler recorded his first point as a Panther.
Colby Robak also tallied his first point of the season with his assist on Sean Bergenheim’s game-winner. The assist was well earned for Robak who has been robbed of a few goals this season (I’m looking at you Kevin Bieksa). Robak fired a perfect shot-pass that found Bergenheim’s tape for the deflection that sent BB&T Center into a frenzy.
May the Force Be With Lu
There may have been some Jedi mind tricks at work keeping Benn’s shot out of the net but this one from the game’s last minute was all Luongo:
The Scoring Race
With his 15th goal of the season, Scottie Upshall jumped ahead in the race for the Panthers scoring title. Here are the latest standings: