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Cats Earn Point vs. Calgary

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Olesz Scores Two Goals in 5-4 OT Loss to Flames

Goldie's Post-game blog:

After a strong 57 minutes of hockey here in Calgary the Panthers gave a game away to the Flames. The Cats did get a point but the disappointment after a 5-4 overtime loss will be tough to get over. The Panthers dominated the 3rd period until the final 3 minutes. Down 2-1 going to the 3rd David Booth scored his 1st NHL goal to tie the game. Rostislav Olesz scored with 10:46 to go for the lead and added another goal to make it 4-2 with 3:54 left. It seemingly put the game away. The fans headed for the exit and the outcome was not in doubt...or so we thought. The Flames scored 48 seconds later to make it 4-3 and then tied it with 1:38 left. The game winner came with just 30 seconds left in overtime. The Panthers are now 0 and 8 in OT.

The Cats are now off until Sunday when they face former teammate Roberto Luongo in Vancouver.

More later from Western Canada!

Goldie's 2nd intermission blog:

Only goal in the 2nd scored by Calgary's Alex Tanguay on a pass from Rhett Warrener. The Cats had 16 shots on goal and have played well for 2 periods. They just need to keep the pressure on and hope to break through against Jamie McLennan in the 3rd. He has stopped 29 shots toniht. With the injuries they have tonight the Cats are putting forth a solid effort against a very good Flames team, especially here in Calgary. They have won 14 of 19 games played here at the Saddledome. Big 3rd period for the Panthers coming up!

Goldie's 1st intermission blog:

Tied at 1 after 1 thanks to Olli Jokinen setting up the tying goal with 15 seconds left in the period. After Calgary controlled play the 1st half of the period the Cats got going and got good pressure on the Flames defense and goal. Bryan Allen had the hit of the season on a clean check that kncked the Flames Chuck Kobasew out of the game. That seemed to spark the Cats. The goal was scored by Jay Bouwmeester, his 6th of the season. That's a career high for the Panther defenseman and we are only halfway through the season. The Cats need to keep an eye on Dion Phaneuef and Jerome Iginla in the 2nd. Panthers outshot the flames 12-8 in the first period.

Goldie's Pre-game Blog:

The road trip continues tonight here in Calgary. The Panthers are shorthanded with Gary Roberts and Jurai Kolnik expected to miss the game with injuries. In addition, Gregory Campbell got hit in the head/face with a puck in the morning skate so we will see if he is able to play. The team has recalled Anthony Stewart and Janis Sprukts from Rochester and they are expected to play. Alex Auld will be in goal tonight. He had great success against the Flames last season. The Panthers know how big this game is and the players are focused on getting a win heading into Vancouver for a match-up Sunday with the hot Canucks. The Cats could really use a big game from someone offensively. They suffered a setback on Tuesday with a loss at Edmonton, a performance that did not generate enough scoring chances. The team is still 5-2-2 in its last 9 and a win tonight keeps that confident feeling going.

Game Preview:

The Panthers (15-20-7) are coming off just their second regulation defeat in the last eight games, a 4-1 loss at Edmonton on Tuesday. Florida allowed four unanswered goals before leading-scorer Olli Jokinen finally got the team on the board with a power-play goal late in the third period - the Panthers' first extra-man goal in five games.

"We had a slow start," Panthers defenseman Mike Van Ryn said. "Our power play has been struggling of late. We didn't really generate much offensively and we were a little loose."

Martin Gelinas, who assisted on Jokinen's goal, spent two seasons with Calgary from 2002-04 and had 87 points in 157 games. Florida's Ed Belfour is 2-6 with two ties and a 2.15 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against the Flames.

Florida is playing the second of three straight contests on the road, where it is 5-12-5 this season. The Flames are playing the fourth of a season-high six-game homestand and are 14-5-0 there this season, outscoring opponents 63-36.

The Calgary Flames remain in the middle of the pack in the tightly contested Northwest Division. Things could be a lot different with improved special teams play.

Calgary (19-15-4) has dropped four of its last six games, with three of those defeats coming to division foe Vancouver. The Flames allowed two first-period goals Tuesday, including a power-play tally, and couldn't recover en route to a 3-2 loss to the Canucks.

Calgary was whistled for 39 penalty minutes resulting in 10 Vancouver power-plays. The Flames have allowed an extra-man goal in eight straight games and are stopping only 79.9 percent of opponents' chances this season.

"It impacts the flow of our game," said Flames center Matthew Lombardi, whose team is third in a division where the first and last-place teams are separated by just a few points. "They get on the power play moving the puck around, our guys on the (penalty kill) are out there a lot and getting tired while the other guys are sitting on the bench and are not getting the opportunity to get going."

Lombardi finally got things going Tuesday with a short-handed goal in the second period, his fourth of the season and the second-most in the NHL. Lombardi also scored the second goal for the Flames, but they failed to convert on seven power-play opportunities and are capitalizing on just 15.5 percent of their chances this season.

Kristian Huselius, who assisted on both of Lombardi's goals, has eight points in the last four games and is fourth on the team with 30 this season. The Flames' left wing will get the chance Thursday to face his former team for the first time since Florida traded him to Calgary on Dec. 2, 2005.

Huselius began his career with the Panthers and recorded 58 goals and 69 points in 257 games.

Calgary center Byron Ritchie, who played three seasons for the Panthers from 2001-2004, will also be playing against his old team for the first time.

Calgary won 4-2 on Jan. 10, 2004, in the last meeting between these teams.

Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves to earn a 6-0 shutout victory in his only career start against the Panthers on Jan. 5, 2002, when he was with San Jose.

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